Saturday, September 30, 2017

Baking Day and End of the Summer Garden (sigh)

On Thursday I had a little energy...go figure! I picked some very nice tomatoes and cucumbers and made a Bruschetta. It was extra sweet because of the cherry tomatoes and tasted lovely on my homemade No Knead Bread

I had some eggs to finish up so I made my Sausage and Tomato Frittata for dinner. 

I also found a recipe for Feta and Chive Savoury Muffins in my Taste of Home cookbook. They turned out well, but a little bland. Next time I'll add more chives. I guess the "Award Winning Recipe" label is very subjective!!

For our sweet tooth, I made a batch of Double Chocolate Chunk Cookies from Martha Stewart's website. I used white chocolate chips instead of chocolate chunks though. They turned out delicious but completely melted while cooking...melted, not sure how to describe it, but they kind of amalgamated and flattened, and turned into one big cookie! 

I wanted to make sure we had plenty of snacks during the next few days since I'm kind of overwhelmed with chores to do.

Despite how busy I've been with the dogs, it felt WRONG not making any cheese this week, so I made a quick Microwave Mozzarella. This cheese is SO fresh and yummy and super easy to make. We've been snacking on it the last few days.

Alex said we should age this cheese. I said, "it's supposed to be eaten fresh and we can't age it." He asked "why not?" Why not indeed! I was just always told fresh Mozza cannot be aged...but why not? So...this is one day in the cheese cave drying it. I sealed it today and we have an experiment on our hands! I've successfully aged the Traditional Style Mozza, so I'm going to wait a month or so to see how this little bundle ages!

The Camemberts smell divine and are getting mouldier and mouldier each day! By the end of this week, I'll be wrapping them and they'll sit for another 4-6 weeks before we try them!

Since Thursday, we have had freezing temperatures overnight and frost. I decided today to pick the last of the tomatoes, ripe or not. And the last 4 mini cukes. The veggies that aren't ripe will sit on the window sill for a few days so we can salvage them!

The summer garden is done. What can I say? It's been a bit disappointing, but I can only blame the weather this season. I did learn a lot for my first container garden though. These two pumpkins are still green and may possibly be orange-ish in a month's time for Halloween.

THIS is my prize pumpkin though! She's well on her way to orange-hood! :) 

I don't think I'll be participating in this week's Year of Projects post on Sunday; nor the Scribble Picnic post on Wednesday...I'm just off my rocker with the dogs and Monday's impending shopping trip! I did a full pantry and freezer inventory yesterday. I have 24 of 31 meals planned (including our Thanksgiving!!)...the next step is to finish the meal planning, make my shopping list, check the flyers, write the final shopping list with estimated costs...then sit back and have a glass of wine...patting myself on the back lol!

This week, I must also clean up the dregs of the summer garden and prepare for my winter garden. We have to get some plexiglass for cold frames, build some raised beds to keep the garden as protected as possible, and put them all together. I have to plant my garlic too. For now, the pumpkin patch will stay put until November.

And during all of this I'm hoping I can make a Swiss cheese and start some much needed slippers! It's getting darn cold out! I will miss all of my Blogger friends over the next little while, and I will catch up with all of you next week. I love my routines, and reading blogs each morning while I sip my coffee is such a pleasure - MUCH better than reading the news and social media! Oh...and there's the dogs too...oh my, how did my simple quiet little life get so hectic all of a sudden??? I said, I'm off my rocker!!!

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Scribble Picnic: Radio...Glorious Mold On My Cams! 😀

This week's Scribble Picnic theme is "Radio". Does anyone get my reference??? This was the first thing I thought of when I read the word "Radio":

That's Orson Welles broadcasting his infamous dramatization of H.G. Wells' "War of the Worlds" in 1938. I'm too young to have heard it live, but Alex and I have listened to this several times on Internet Radio and we just love it. My painting is part watercolour and part acrylic. Visit the link above for other people's ideas! Keep that imagination going and don't forget to watch the skies! :)

Look at this...we managed to get all five dogs "taking their place" while we set out their food dishes! You'll notice our guest Stella (to the very left) and our Charlie (to the very right) both on leashes. Both female alphas are not fixed and there has been lots of grumbling between the two of them all week so far...we have to separate them, sigh. Oh well, not everyone gets along right? Our friend will likely be back before Canadian Thanksgiving to pick his dogs up. Despite the tension between the gals, having five dogs has been a lot of fun! :) Each dog has their own personality and sweetness to them and they are very endearing.

Even the three cats seem to be okay with our two new house guests! :) They're more concerned about how they can get to the chickadees in the trees!

I don't think there will be any new cheese making in my near future though! The dogs are really taking up most of our time. But look at my Camemberts!!! One week after making them, look at all that fun bloomy white mold forming on the sides! It's hard to capture what it looks like on the tops and bottoms, but the sides DO tell the story!

Nancy asked for my Baked Spaghetti recipe. I usually post all of my recipes don't I? I guess I missed that one! :) I just follow my recipe for Tomato Sauce, cook the pasta and mix it with the sauce, then put it into the dishes and load it up with Mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. It's hot when I put it in the dish so I just broil it until the cheese is all melty and brown! Very delicious! :)

Monday, September 25, 2017

Doggie Breath and Tidbits

After Saturday night's all-nighter getting the dogs all used to each other, we spent most of Sunday in bed watching Westerns. But...we managed to get ALL FIVE dogs up on the bed with us, I know, it's really cozy (hmmm, that should read "crazy"!)...I have two legs under there somewhere and so does Alex lol...At one point Oscar the cat braved the little spot he could find, but didn't stick around long enough to be photographed!

Check this out...I just took a picture of my little froggie thermometer on the's 43 degrees in the shade. This is weather we should have had from May to August!! I'm on the porch by myself in my bathing suit taking very good advantage of some quiet alone "Rain time". All the pets are inside with the A/C on (yes, Sam, I caved lol!!!). Being in the valley of the Laurentian mountains, there is also always a humidex, but I have no idea what it is and I really don't want to know! I just know that my normally straight hair is now an afro of picture required lol!

We are coming up on "monthly shopping day" next Monday so I have a bunch of cookbooks next to me and I'm starting my meal planning for the month of October. I've done so well the last year with monthly meal planning and grocery shopping that I actually have a really good supply of chicken, beef, pork and fish in the freezer! A year after starting this adventure, I'm cutting October's grocery bill by two thirds because I don't really need all that much food! Wonderful isn't it? Hard work DOES pay off! :)

One of the cookbooks I got at the thrift store had these little tidbits as part of the instructions, I thought it was funny!

I can't imagine turning the oven on tonight so I took the slow cookers out and I'm making two chilis. One with beef and spices for Alex and one with chicken and no spices for me (recipe: Rain's Chili). I was up AGAIN just before 5am, sigh...but I guess it was a good thing today because I got the chilis going before it got really hot.

I'm really taking advantage of this weather...before I know it, I'll be smack into six months of THIS:

Happy Monday! :)

Sunday, September 24, 2017

We Have Company! Cheese, Garden and Knitting Updates! (YOP Week 13)

FIVE dogs in the house! With our three, we have added Stella and dear Pavlov! Our friend in Montreal had to fly back overseas, poor guy, his father passed away. So yesterday at 4:30pm, he called and asked if we could babysit his dogs for 2-3 weeks because his flight was in 6 hours! 7pm, we were back in Montreal (oh the horror on a Saturday night), picking up his dogs. We babysat Pavlov for 6 weeks when our friend was trying to find a place to live back in June and July. Now we have him and his mom Stella. I think the next few weeks will be INSANE. Including the cats, there are eight pets in the house! 

Before the whirlwind craziness began yesterday, I did manage to knit something! I found a cute pattern for an engraved-style Pumpkin Dishcloth or place mat. It's the first time I followed a pattern like this, it was easy, just knits and purls, but it required focus! I'm going to make at least one more for place mats for Halloween I think. I saw a few others that I might try as well. (Visit the group on Ravelry for more updates!)

Speaking of knitting, I got my yarn order! These are two of the colours I chose for socks. First time sock-making imminent...since I can't handle double-pointed needles too well, I did some research and found these teensy tiny little circular sock needles. Oh my gosh, they are so small! This will be a learning curve for me!!! I hope I can do a lot of "porch knitting" this week. It's going to be hot and sunny until Thursday. The dogs will dictate my projects for the next little while I think! :)

The tomatoes are ripening and we're getting LOTS of little cherry tomatoes every other day! I'm still waiting to see if my pumpkins will turn orange!

On the cheese front: My Cams are still forming bloomy white mold all over (more on Rainy Day Cheese Making). It may be hard to see, but the raised white areas are the mold. This is all very exciting!! I can't wait to try all these amazing cheeses! I wanted to try making another poutine cheese this weekend, but with the dogs, it might not happen.

I made a baked spaghetti in our new (used) Corningware dishes. Of course, I used my homemade Mozzarella and look how wonderfully it melted! We have one ball of Mozza left so I have to find some time this week to make another batch for aging. I love making my own cheese! :)

And just for fun, I wanted to share these photos I took with my Canon camera. I admit I've been lazy with the photography lately because isn't it just so easy to pull out your cell phone?? But I've been up so early these days, at 5am for some reason, so Friday morning I decided to try to take photos of the sunrise. I had the mode on "burst" - which means it takes hundreds of photos one after the other when you just keep the shutter button pressed. But I kept moving around and look what happened.

Aren't they kind of neat? I love the tree photo, they look so wispy. They give me ideas for paintings too. It just goes to show that you don't always need to take still photography for interesting results! I used to really enjoy photography and that's one thing I've really let slide, but I'm going to make sure I keep it up from now on because it's a great way to be creative; and also in my case, bond with nature!

I hope you all have a lovely week my friends! I still hope I can do some painting this week...canine rules though! :) Wish us luck!!

Friday, September 22, 2017

Hats!...Jukebox Burgers and Thrift Store Bargains

The reason why Alex and I drove to Montreal on Wednesday was to look at some Akubra hats! Akubra is an Australian company that makes great outback-style hats and we recently have become very obsessed with them. We love the look and we have definitely become hat people!

These hats are worth hundreds of dollars, but we found a seller who had a few of them used for very little money and they were in amazing condition. I feel like I can't leave the house without a hat on anymore lol...

Okay, I couldn't resist lol...Jack in his ten-gallon hat! :)

From our house to Montreal is two hours each way so we decided to treat ourselves to dinner in town. We tried out a really neat diner called Jukebox Burgers. It's very 50's style and it was really fun, a bit pricey, but what the only live once!

I had the "Cheesy Dean" burger and Alex had the "Humphrey" burger. All the food is named after Hollywood stars of that era. Of course, we had side-poutines!! Martha, if you're ever in Dollard, it's worth a stop!

A little Camembert Update! It's been 2 days in the drying box and already my little Cams are forming bloomy white mold. I darkened the photos and put a little yellow in it so you can see the difference but it's all very white in reality. Soon that will cover the entire cheese and hopefully look like this in mid-November:

Sam if you're reading, a Camembert is a soft cheese from France that is very much like a Brie. Very creamy in the middle, sometimes mild, sometimes really stinky and strong! I think mine will turn out mild!

We made it to the bi-monthly thrift stores again yesterday and I got another haul of cookbooks for fifty cents each. I also found a quilt-making book! Honestly, it's a score to find English books here!

The most expensive purchase of the day was this beautiful glass cake stand at $10. Our last one had a big crack in it and no lid, Alex saw this one and snatched it up while some other lady was eyeing it least there was no big fight! ;)  And I'll be putting these two Corningware dishes to good use tonight with baked spaghetti. 

We also bought some clothes and blankets...which the cats decided to use for bedding this morning...back into the washing machine they go lol...good lesson -PUT YOUR CLOTHES AWAY right away out of the drier!!! :) A twenty dollar day also included a really nice chandelier that we packed away for when we buy our place. We try to be very frugal and our goal is to buy everything used if we can. Not only is it good for the budget, but I find that you get better quality items - even if they are used they are better quality than a lot of new items for sale. As we all know, the quality of merchandise has taken a nose-dive the last decade or so, and it keeps sinking. Sad but true.

We were so stoked with the Akubra hats we bought, in fact, I got one and Alex found three. One is too big for him, but he's been learning how to clean, re-shape, stiffen and mold the hats to his liking, it's a nice new hobby and maybe one day he'll make one of his own too. They're kind of like Stetson cowboy with that in mind, I made a "Cowboy Dinner" last night! Chicken Fricassee and Fart & Dart Beans.

Hmmm...all that was missing was the ringing of the big triangle dinner bell and a stiff shot of bourbon! :)

Today's mountain view walking the dogs. Life is pretty good isn't it? :)