Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Fondue Night! Scribble Picnic and Winter Garden


This week's Scribble Picnic theme is "Gift Wrapped/Unwrapped". Since Christmas is coming up, I'm sure everyone is on their best behaviour to be on Santa's "Nice List". If you are on the Nice List, you may want to check out other artist's versions of this theme - and why not join in yourself? :)  If you are on the "Naughty List", and I know some of you are πŸ˜, you're in the right place! That gift is for YOU. Go ahead...go get your gift. 😱 You just have to be quicker than the monsters lurking in the dark! Oh, and you have to make it to the end of the tunnel...but who knows what's on the other side...


The Winter Garden:  The cold frames that I made are doing their job so far! I have greens and roots...some have stalled, some are still growing, despite the deep freeze. The garlic patch is snowed in and I'll have to see if I have success in the spring. Tomorrow there is a break in the weather and it'll be above zero. This may be my last chance to water the winter garden before next year. I have a feeling the only veggies I'll be harvesting will be the winter lettuces and the carrots/beets that I'd started in the summer. Still though, this is a fun experiment!


By pure chance, Alex was looking out the window yesterday morning at the lilac tree and saw a cardinal couple! We rarely see those birds in this area, he managed to get one photo from the cell phone before they took off. That was a nice bit of luck! Native lore says that if you see a cardinal, then a romantic encounter is imminent. :) Another bit of lore is that if a cardinal visits you, he's telling you to start that project that you've been putting off!


How time flies, it was fondue night again last night! That means another milestone celebration. :) Alex and I have 4 years and 8 months under our belts. :) As corny as it may be, I love to celebrate our monthly "anniversary"! I made a Roasted Garlic, Cheddar and Zinfandel Fondue last night...holy garlic, it calls for two entire roasted garlic bulbs....and this one uses red wine. I used to be an old school fondue type of gal: Swiss, white wine, bread cubes. I'm happy that I'm branching out now, the red wine gave the cheese such a nice flavour! If I make this again though, I'll cut the garlic WAY down!


I used a bottle of Ravenswood Zinfandel that I found by coincidence here in Quebec in August. I first tasted it at a wine show in 2013 and we finally have it on the shelves! Delish! If you are a red wine drinker, do you have a favourite type of wine, a favourite country? Italian Primitivo is my absolute favourite red...did you know that Zinfandel is the same grape as Primitivo? When it was brought overseas to the States, the name changed, so if you love California Zinfandel, you'll love Italian Primitivo too. :)


Alex made us some Irish coffees for dessert too, it was such a nice meal!


My "boys" on my lap...Jack and Pavlov. They are like velcro on me wherever I go. Last night we watched a great movie called The Lodger based on the Jack the Ripper story. There have been many versions made over the years, including a 1927 silent by Alfred Hitchcock, one of his first movies. Here is the You Tube link, I don't know how long it'll be up there, but I highly recommend that movie. It was made in 1944 and stars Laird Cregar, a pretty unknown actor who died way too young with so much potential. The last half hour is pretty suspenseful, turn the lights off for this movie! :)

56 comments:

Debra She Who Seeks said...

Rain, I was browsing through the camembert at the grocery store the other day, and thought of you.

Jenn said...

Love your take on the gift! The hallway perspective is very Kubrickian!
Cardinals are very pretty! I don't think I have ever seen one in person..maybe we don't have them in Alberta? I also like seeing Blue Jays.
I might need to do a fondue or a hot pot soon...it's been too long!
Hope you're doing well!

MrsDuncanMahogany said...

Oh I just love that painting! I wish I lived in a house that had a hallway like that. :) Envious of your winter garden! I will keep my fingers crossed it all turns out well. This weekend shall be cheesemaking weekend for me! Wish me luck!!!

I love the picture of the cardinal! Such a pretty bird! I do not think we have those in Manitoba. I have never seen one. I keep a log of the birds that come to my feeders. I think the most interesting one I have ever had come for a visit was a ring necked pheasant - that was such a bizarre sighting!

Sunnybrook Farm said...

Fondue night sounds so neat. It was beef stew night here and now it is left over beef stew day.

Christine said...

Love your gift wrap piece for SP! Great capture on the cardinals. Congrats on your monthly anniversary, well celebrated. I must admit I don't like Irish coffee the time I had it. I remember tasting mostly just liqueur.

Kristina said...

That Irish coffee looks delicious. By the way, I posted the link to the pear gingersnap pie now.

John M said...

That's a lovely image about gifts, sort of surreal. I'd really enjoy the dessert.
I haven't had a fondue in decades.

Sandi said...

Fondue! You’ve inspired me...We haven’t used our fondue pot in ages!

Sam I Am...... said...

Are you trying to creep me out? LOL! I live alone, girlfriend....I am NOT watching Jack the Ripper! LOL! And I am also not going to open that pretty package as I can just imagine what's inside! (Just joking with you)...I love your pretty package but not the long dark hallway. I watched Fargo the other night and although a little gruesome and lots of cuss words it was a true story and I wanted to watch it. It was very good actually. There was some humor too which helped lighten the scary parts.
Your blog posts are like a memory game because once I open the comment section I can't go back and see your blog and I don't want to forget anything.
Happy Anniversary and that fondue sounded great, I love read wine not white so much and the more garlic the better! That Irish coffee looks so yummy! Your dogs all curled up around you is so sweet...they love you so much!
I will be anxious to see how your winter garden does. I never did get anything planted and the ones I brought inside are not doing too well.
Did I forget anything? Oh, the cardinal....we have gobs of them here that's why you don't see many there! LOL! I think it's because of the unfinished projects I have....it certainly isn't because of romance! I gave that up for Lent! Take care you 2 lovebirds! Hugs ~ Sam

Stefanie said...

A belated hau'oli la ho'omana'o to you and your husband. I'm glad you had a lil' special somethin' somethin' that night.
You are so much more productive than me. You gave me too much credit. I haven't knitted for a bit because I had to finish my swap partner's advent gifts and get them mailed off today.

Pam Jackson said...

Nice gift wrapping....and the milkshakes look YUMMY.

Plowing Through Life (Martha) said...

It's always so much fun at your place! I always enjoy your artwork and I love how you've added a spooky effect to the wrapped Christmas gift. Very cool. And every time I read a post of yours, I get hungry. LOL It's wonderful seeing cardinals. They're pretty shy birds and it's difficult to get a glimpse of them, let alone a photo.

Oh my gosh, I haven't had a fondue in years! We have a brand new fondue pot that I should put to use soon. I think it would be such a nice treat!


Andrea Priebe said...

Oh I have spent some time on that "naughty" list in my day, but at my age it takes too much effort to be naughty so I guess the gift is not for me :) Sounds like a great challenge though ... hmmm can you go for it if you aren't on the "naughty" list?

Winter garden ... I would never have thought of it. Does it actually grow in the cold days of winter? Or are you just hoping to preserve what will grow in the summer? As for wine, I always liked Cabernet Sauvignon, but I only partake when we go out so don't know which version would be my favorite. Lovely with the fondue though ... and a chocolate fondue for dessert would be good. As always, I enjoyed my visit to your blog :) I know you are on the "nice" list :)

Andrea @ From the Sol

Harry Flashman said...

Rain, we have cardinals down here, too. M and I saw one on our way to town the other day, he flew so low and fast across the front of the jeep I thought I might hit him. But I was only doing about 30 mph so he just made it clear.

Cold, snowy weather is perfect for nice meals in side. It helps everybody stay cheerful to have good , "comfy" meals and to feel snug when it's cold and snowy outside.

I'm glad everything is ok up there.

Lorraine said...

Oooh, you are pretty diabolic there with that gift. I think I'll pass, I can't run anymore and I've lost the ability to make myself invisible. But I do like all the other "gifts" in this post. Your winter garden experiment sounds very intriguing and I love seeing cardinals. Someone told me a visit from a cardinal is a visit from someone in your past. That looked like quite an enjoyable celebratory meal!

joeks said...

Not being very brave, I think I'll just let that gift sit where it is!

Susan said...

I am a big fan of zinfandel - any big-bodied red wine. I bet that was a mean fondue! My kale is still perking along - almost nothing kills it. But the rest of the garden is toast. I had all good intentions about getting my cold frame planted, but now it is a freeze frame and too late. Must get pretty cozy in bed with the seven (plus) of you! No chance of YOU freezing!

Rain said...

Lol Debra, I'm so glad I'm making an impact!!! :)

Rain said...

Hi Jenn :) Thanks, that's a nice compliment! When I think of Kubrikian hallways I think of The Shining! :) Yes, get that fondue pot out! You will not regret it, unless you are trying NOT to gain cheese-weight lol...

Rain said...

Hi Dianna :) I can't wait to see how your Mozza goes! I'm very excited for you, I'll be around, so email me if you need ANYTHING. Interesting what you said about the cardinal, Jenn (above your comment) is from Alberta and she said she doesn't think they are in Alberta either, not a prairie bird? I know they love forests and lakes. Wow, a pheasant is a rare sighting, I've never seen one here! I love birds, I think it's neat that you keep a log of them. I've been wanting to start doing that for a long time, it's one of those hobbies I keep putting on the back burner though.

Rain said...

Hi Gill :) Beef stew, Alex loves it. He asked for some! The fondue was definitely delicious but way too much garlic for me!

Rain said...

Hi Christine :) Thanks! I didn't have any cute ideas for the theme, of course, the monsters got in the way lol...The way we make our drinks, we always use a lot less alcohol than is called for. I can handle wine any time of the day, but both Alex and I are light-weights when it comes to spirits. We just put a sprinkling in the coffee for the flavour and it was great.

Rain said...

Thanks Kristina, I'll head over and get that recipe!!! :)

Rain said...

Hi John :) The first idea that came to my mind was never look a gift-horse in the mouth...but I couldn't draw a horse! :) You should try to make a fondue for you and your wife, I think you'd both really enjoy it, it's such a nice romantic meal :))

Rain said...

Hi Sandi :) Yay! I'm glad I inspired you! We have a fondue every 14th of the month since we got our pot in the summer. It's a huge pleasure!!

Rain said...

Lol Sam...I LOVED your comment ha ha ha...See, I don't know what's in the actual gift...well, I may know, but I'm sworn to secrecy...you'll have to outrun the monsters to find out lol...Oh Fargo! That is one of my absolute favourite movies!!! Each actor is just wonderful in it. They also made 3 seasons of television series on FX, we watched the first two on Netflix and You Tube. The third one is out now, and I downloaded it a few weeks back. It's a very good series! But, I think the "true story" is exaggerated, at least that's what I read about it. Still though, great stories. Oh Sam, if you right click on the comment link, maybe you'll open a new tab so you don't have to play a memory game, lol...but also there's a link on the top that says "show original post" and you can at least see the words, not the pictures, just above all the comments.

The more garlic the better Sam? This fondue IS FOR YOU. Seriously...it was very good, but my stomach reminded me after why I don't ever overdo it on garlic lol...

The winter garden...I can't say I'm fully certain it's going to work! But time will tell, we haven't even hit the coldest temps yet. You're so funny that you gave up romance for Lent, good girl. Lol :)

Rain said...

Hi Stefanie :) Thank you for the hau'oli la ho'omana'o!! :) I love reading your language on your blog too. We have a fondue night every 14th of the month to celebrate. We both had rough lives and we are taking every moment with as much gusto as we can now :) Whoever is more productive, I think that you do so much...and you have a family to take care of! I have a fur family but they don't require as much as the human kind lol :)

Rain said...

Thanks Pam :) I'm so glad you joined in on the picnic this week! :)

Rain said...

Hi Martha :) I can't NOT add the spooky effect. I started off with the gift horse in the mouth idea...can't draw a horse...then a little dog with a gift...too sweet for my crazy mind...of course, the monsters won out lol...I hope you join in when you have a chance! Use that fondue pot!!! You and your most amazing man in the world will have such a nice romantic night!!! :)

Rain said...

Hi Andrea :) Ha ha ha...you're so funny. I don't think the monsters in the shadows know about the nice and naughty list...so you're on your own lol...Honestly, this is my first year trying a winter garden. I'd read a few books on it and how to set it up, what to plant and how to care for it. I don't have the budget for expensive cold frames this year so I improvised with some plexi-glass...not sure it'll work, but time will tell. Worst case is that the winter plants will stall and then I can harvest them in the spring I think. I'll be posting about it now and then for updates! Chocolate fondue...there is a whole chapter on that in the Fondue recipe book! We just haven't had the time to try any of them ....YET! I love Cabernet Sauvignon too, especially from Australia. :)

Rain said...

Hi Harry :) The cardinals really are super, the colours of the males are really amazing, it's nice to see them, we don't see them that often so it was a real treat for us! Thanks for checking in on us :) The winters here are all about comfort...it gets so cold in this cottage, having a landlord who isn't too interested in spending the money to insulate it better...we make do. But stews and fondues and lots of cheesy meals keep us warm! :) Plus 8 pets on the bed with us lol...

Rain said...

Hi Lorraine :) Lol...I have never had the ability to be invisible! That's a sweet idea about the cardinal. I like it. :) The fondue was spectacular...but that garlic oh my gosh. We could smell it on our clothes and hair after lol...the winter garden, well, we shall see. I have high hopes, but they are in doubt at the moment! It just may be too cold here for it!

Rain said...

Hi Jolene :) Lol...that's okay, with my knees I would make that same decision! :)

Rain said...

Hi Susan :) No chance of freezing with 8 fur coats lying on top of us lol...Me too re: the wine, I love big-bodied red wines a lot. I could enjoy a "vin nouveau" aka a Beaujolais...but those hearty ones are my favourite. Kale...I've read that nothing kills it, but I can't stand the taste of it, and I tried! I'll see in the spring, but I'm starting to think it'll just be too frigid here for a garden in the winter. I'm going to work on my indoor garden after the holidays and see what I can grow by the window again!

Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

Wine - Red wine (there is no other kind), most especially anything that is an Old Zinfandel (from a head trained vine, sometimes decades old).

We get cardinals all the time down here. The Ravishing Mrs. TB is very pleased as these are some of her favorite birds.

Leigh said...

The fondue looks really yummy. :) No matter what happens with your winter garden, you will walk away with information you can use next year! Experience truly is the best teacher.

Michael said...

Dear Rain,

Thank you so much for your wonderfully imaginative contribution (both the art and write up on it)! I love it. You really get my mind working here too. Hehe, yes, I am an all round big hearted guy but you know, definitely have a tongue-in-cheek cheeky nature too so I'm gonna put myself on the naughty list! Funnily enough, Alexandra had this IG story vid with a poll asking if I was naughty or nice? Mind you, there was a pic of me as Santa. The results indicated 75% felt I was naughty and the remaining, nice! Lol.

Your indoor garden is coming along well and speaking of winter gardens, I had no idea there even was "winter lettuce!" Sad how removed I am from the earth in that sense. Such a city boy at heart but I do love gardening (when I had one) and love seeing things blossom etc.

I love that you and your Alex celebrate each month. Why not? I am a huge romantic so that would be fine with me. My Alex(andra) also loves to celebrate every little thing and in the 4 years we've been married, she's taught me a lot about not taking things for granted and noticing the little moments of wonder. :)

What? You are in Quebec?! how lovely. Not Quebec City obviously, judging from the woods, etc. Alex and I would love to visit the latter, however, and even have it in our plans to celebrate one of our anniversaries there since it is in the Christmas season and would be magical. We were going to do it this December but with all the expense and time for travel for my mother and family, that's not happening now. Maybe next year. If you are nearby, we could connect over fondue at some restaurant or something perhaps? That would be fun.

Those Irish coffee dessert drinsk look divine btw. I'm sure they were thoroughly enjoyed!

BTW, I have our new Scribble Picnic themes/prompts up on the side bar. I think you'll rather enjoy some of them and some will get the creative wheels spinning. We will take a break for next week since it's the day before America's Thanksgiving and many of our picnickers will be busy shopping and cooking big family meals and whatnot!

Fundy Blue said...

Your fondue sounds delicious, Rain! It's something I haven't had in ages ~ too worried about calories, I guess. I love cheese, and I'm afraid I'd get out of control ~ LOL! Good luck with your winter garden. In an alternate universe I garden and don't travel. Have a good one, my friend!

laurie said...

your painting is amazing, your imagination is exciting!!!!
I have been following your cheese making and its really interesting,, and very successful too by the looks of it!!
Your fur babies are beauties,,

Yarrow said...

Your fondue looks divine, but so rich. I might have to give it a try though ;) Over here the popular cheese dish is Raclette, I guess it might be the same for you with the French area you live in? We'll have to have a Raclette night and I'll share some pictures :D Your winter garden is doing very well, I'm impressed. The garlic will probably be fine over winter. I might try and get some in.x

RO said...

What a wonderfully creative and fun way to start thinking about the Christmas season. I fear I may have made it to the Naughty List, so do I try to open that package?(lol) Something about fondue seems so romantic to me, then add in the rich drinks, and it sounds like a special day made in heaven. As always, I adore checking out your friends. Hugs...RO

Rain said...

Hi TB :) I'm a fan of red wine too, but I do love my white wine spritzers!! :)

Rain said...

Hi Leigh :) You're right about experience being the best teacher. I'm happy to learn now and not invest too much. The fondue...I crave it every day now lol...

Rain said...

Hi Michael :) Lol that you are on the naughty list AND you have documentation to prove it! I love the new themes on your picnic. I have a lot of ideas and I do hope I can keep it up this year. I love the challenge of thinking outside the box a little bit!

Oh the winter garden...it's my first year and a FULL EXPERIMENT...I feel Dr. Frankenstein lol..."IT COULD WORK!!!" ha ha...the winter lettuces are really "greens"...mostly what's called mΓ’che (which is also called corn salad) and miner's lettuce (also called claytonia). Those are supposed to grow year round, but I can't see them pushing out of that frozen earth...time will tell! I'm excited about it though, knowing that if we crave a salad in January, it'll cost us over $6 for a terrible head of lettuce that has no flavour anyway.

It just dawned on me, we both have our Alex's. :) I think it's nice being a romantic, we are like that too. Little moments are very special because you never know when things can change in an instant and you may lose what you've had. Not to be morbid, but that's what drives me a lot to celebrate each moment, knowing I need to live for today, not knowing what tomorrow will bring :)

Yes, I'm in Quebec, about a 3 hour drive north of Montreal in the Laurentian mountains. I read your Alex's blog about all the travel plans. Quebec City has its charm, as does Montreal. But I guess living here as an English Canadian, the french turns me off as we are made to feel unwelcome. But as a visitor, I think that you both will enjoy a trip to this province! :)

Rain said...

Hi Fundy Blue :) I think I gave up worrying about calories a long time ago! As long as I keep active and have a good balance of yummy comfort meals with healthy meals, then I'm okay. Plus the red wine cures all of that lol...(in my mind at least!!)

Rain said...

Hi Laurie :) Thanks for visiting!! And thank you for the compliment about my painting. I think that you will see...my mind is more macabre than cute lol...the fur babies just make our lives so complete...I love them all to bits and can't imagine life without them! :) The cheese making has definitely had its ups and downs, but I'd say an overall success! :)

Rain said...

Hi Yarrow :) The fondue was very rich and super garlicky...I couldn't handle it, but did I stop? What do you think lol? :) Raclette is huge here, in fact a few months back we found our first Raclette appliance at a second hand store and it works perfectly. I have a Raclette planned for the holidays, I haven't had one in ages! I was hoping to have my own cheese made for it, but that was a lofty plan...no time at the moment. The winter garden, we'll see! I planted a small amount just to experiment. I can't wait to pull some carrots after Christmas though, apparently they get much sweeter as the weather gets colder!

Rain said...

Hi RO :) Ha ha ha...I say GO FOR IT! Heck, if you're already on that Naughty List, that present was made for you, lol...The fondue is very romantic. That's why I choose to have one every 14th when we have our monthly celebration. :) I'm lucky Alex is just as romantic so it's always a romantic time. Hugs to you too! :)

Michael said...

Oh that's interesting about being English Canadian and have read similar before. I suppose they are better with foreigners. lol

"I feel Dr. Frankenstein lol..."IT COULD WORK!!!"" - I can picture you checking the wilted leaves from some cold snap or seeing new shoots and proclaiming boldly, "it's ALIVE!" :D

Rain said...

Lol Michael...yes...and you are very right, I would likely shout out "it's ALIVE!!!", not caring a hoot about who hears me ha ha.

baili said...

Oh this is shivering for me !
you are so clever and naughty to create such fabulous art dear Rain !
wonderful painting with scary plus exciting touch my friend!

glad that winter garden is going fine and best wishes for you harvesting in spring dear:)

I loved the idea of monthly anniversary,Happy anniversary to you love birds!!! may you see many many and many more together!

In winters i used to see cardinals back in my native village ,they are lovely birds ,interesting lore about them you shared

Rain said...

Thank you Baili :))) I'm glad you liked the painting! :) We have had a lot of snow and it's so cold...I see plants looking so-so outside...I can't wait to see how this all turns out!

Guillaume said...

Oh I LOVE a good cheese fondue! Miss them so much.

Rain said...

Hi Guillaume :) We hadn't had fondue very often until we got our first pot together and now it's every month! I hope you have some soon!

Serena Lewis said...

Sorry that I'm late getting around everyone...it's been one of those weeks.

I love your take on the theme...a little on the eerie...take it if you dare feeling. hehe

I think the last fondue 'party' I ever had was back when I was 17 so over 40 years ago...can you believe it?! I was at my then-boyfriend's house for the weekend and everyone was talking about having a 'fondue party' that very night. At that young, naive age, I had no idea what a fondue was so I'm thinking they are having an actual party...dancing, loud music, etc. Imagine my surprise when we sat around the table at dinner with just the family and two fondue pots on the table. I then learned what a fondue was...I have no idea why they called it a party though...maybe it was an Aussie thing. They had one fondue pot filled with oil and one with the cheese sauce if memory serves correctly. And everyone cooked their own food. Quite an experience.

Your fur-kids are adorable! My Cody is never far from my side either. He sleeps on my bed every night too and even steals my pillow if I get up through the night and I have to move to the other pillow because I don't like to disturb him. hehe

Have a lovely weekend! :)

Rain said...

Thanks Serena :) Take if you dare is definitely the idea lol! :) Do you dare? ;) NOT me!

That's a cute story about your first fondue night!!! I've had the oil fondue too, we used to call it "fried fondue", but I never really liked it...that hot oil scares me actually. I remember getting burned a few times as a kid. We stick to the cheese fondue, the hot pots made with broth and hopefully one day I'll get around to the chocolate fondue!

Your Cody sounds cute, definitely we cannot disturb them when they are sleeping on OUR bed lol...ours all have their own pillows and toys too. It's priceless to watch them!! :)