Sunday, December 31, 2017

Cheese Night!

Last night was cheese night!!! I have to admit I was nervous to try out my little dairy children...The Cheddars were all 3 months old and the Camembert was made in November.

All seemed normal, except my Cam turned into a creamy gooey mess!

Although it was a DELICIOUS mess!! I need to find some room in the budget to get some cheese making books soon. I've been following online recipes and it's hard for me to figure out the reasons the cheeses turn out like they do. Like, why did my first two Cams turn out perfectly and these Cams are so soft and runny? The mysteries of cheese making!!! :)

Let's hear the bad news first. The Newcastle infused Cheddar? Not so good! Maybe the beer didn't mix well with the bacterial culture...who knows, but it had hardly any flavour with an odd after taste. But my head is's the only one that didn't turn out!

The regular Cheddar was nice! All of the Cheddars had a great texture. This one was very tangy - Alex loved it but it was slightly too tangy for me. Again, I have to research how to make it a little more mild. Tweaking here and there and more experimentation is needed!

MY favourite! The red wine infused Cheddar. It turned out nice and mild and look at that marbled effect! Oddly enough, this is the only of the three that grew a hard rind too. More mysteries!!

I made some bread to go with the cheese. Check out my lonely little slab of paté!!

Conclusion: I WILL make more Cheddars for sure. Now that I know they have good to improvable flavours, there is no stopping me! I will also make more Camemberts. I want to try some new cheeses in 2018 as well. I will keep making some of the cream cheese, the Boursins, Ricotta and Mozzarellas (traditional and Bocconcini style).

I still have the Dry Jack in the cheese cave as well as the experimental Baby Swiss...we'll try both of those in the spring!

I do have to acquire better equipment though. Better shaped cheese molds and maybe some newer bacterial cultures. My Rainy Day Cheese Making blog should be more active in 2018, so keep an eye out!

Thanks for all of your support this year on my cheese making my friends, it's been a bit of a rollercoaster!

Enjoy your evening and Happy New Year to everyone! :)

Friday, December 29, 2017

Hats and Scents

I wanted to show you my Akubra "Tracker" hat! Alex and I buy our hats second hand all the time, always hoping that they are the right size and in the condition claimed. We've been lucky so far. Alex cleaned all of my hats and he had to put some finishing touches on the sizing through steaming and shaping them. I love this hat!

And this is my first hat that we bought in the fall, the Akubra "The Boss" hat - yeah, that suits me lol...I wanted to show you how I put the turkey feathers on it! We still have my western hat to shape and clean up and I'll show y'all that over the weekend! :)

My creepy heads...they hold the hats well, but do you sense a wee bit of menace the way he's looking at me??? 😱 Actually I have to turn the faces to the wall because little Pavlov the shepherd mix always looks at them very trepidatiously as he tiptoes by them! 

I got an early birthday present too from Alex. It arrived yesterday. It's an aromatherapy diffuser. 

He also got this 6-pack of essential oils. Aromatherapy is wonderful for relaxation and stress-relief and Alex said he wanted me to enjoy this earlier than my birthday to help with the anxiety of late. I'm pretty touched by the thought. :)

My office smells like a spa at the moment! This will be wonderful when I do my yoga and meditation each morning! It's a fun diffuser too, it changes colours and I can't wait to see how it looks like when it's dark. It also acts like a mini-humidifier, so we're going to put it on in the bedroom at night with the eucalyptus oil.

So what are everyone's plans for the New Year, if any? Ours will be the usual cozy quiet with lots of food and drinks! :) And...drum roll...tomorrow we are opening all of the cheeses I made in the summer!!! :)))

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Christmas - More Memories Made!

These are the last of the Christmas cookies! The day before Christmas Eve, I made Hungarian Walnut Cookies, Hot Cocoa Cookie Cups and Alex's favourite Cherry Ice Box Cookies. The walnut cookies were okay, but the dough was too overwhelming. The cocoa cups were yummy and we always love those ice box cookies!

We had our traditional pizza night on Christmas Eve while we watched Home Alone. I wrote a page in my recipe index called Pizza Ideas, and I'll keep adding to it as we try new ones.

I made four mini pizzas: Fig and Prosciutto, BBQ Chicken,

...Buffalo Chicken and Margareta. 

We opened up our stocking stuffers and now have some good hat brushes for all of our hats! 

We had a perfect Christmas morning! There was a blizzard and it snowed all day long, good thing we didn't have to shovel out.

We built a fire and put the presents under the tree, had some fancy coffees while we opened our gifts. The dogs got homemade cookies and the cats got tuna for breakfast. :)

Alex spoiled me rotten this Christmas! :) He got me a Resistol Western hat and an Akubra "Tracker" hat! He also found some real turkey feathers so I can decorate them the way I want! :)

He also got me cookbooks...the Booze Cakes book is full of delicious cakes! I can't wait to make them. The Dom DeLuise books are so darn funny...I love that man and he has so many delicious recipes, I can't wait to try them out too!

My favourite gift is this oracle deck. An oracle deck, simply put is a deck of cards that offer advice and suggestions. I love that Alex picked a Celtic Tree Oracle because I have Celtic roots and I LOVE trees! :)

Alex loved his gifts too! I made him a pair of pj's, got him a few books he wanted...

..I also got him a bottle of extra old brandy and a nice pipe. The theme was comfy and cozy so I figured he could wear the pj's, read a book, smoke his pipe and have a snifter of brandy. :) He loved it! Then the cooking began!

Alex and I made dinner together. We made a Chinese food dinner. It really turned out well!

This part was a surprise though. I shoo'd Alex upstairs while I brought out my take out containers. I found a "Chinese Take Out" font and printed the names of the dishes and drew the little symbols on each one. It made the dinner so much fun, we ate right out of the containers and into the fridge they went for leftovers after.

Beef and Mushrooms and Pineapple Chicken

Spareribs and Chicken Fried Rice

Chicken and Pork Egg Rolls

I forgot to take pictures of the Fried Liver with Tomatoes and the Fortune Cookies. The cookies, frankly, sucked...but I found some fun Charlie Chan proverbs to put in them so we had fun reading them, but they were inedible!!

We don't have anywhere in this area for good take out, more less Chinese take out, so I wanted to make it special. I wrote my recipes here: Chinese Food Dinner.

But...this took just over 8 hours to prepare and cook...eegad and there were two of us, really, that was far too long on Christmas day. Next year there will be a much easier meal I think!

We finished off the night with some of the brandy and fell asleep to a movie. Today is all about resting and playing with our gifts! I hope everyone had a nice day and made lots of wonderful memories!

Saturday, December 23, 2017

🌞 Yuletide Feasting! 🌞

Hello to my Blogger Friends!! :)

I hope everyone is happy and healthy these days and that Christmas will be a joyous occasion for you! I've hinted often at my horrible upbringing, so for me, all holidays were miserable in the past. But since I met Alex, I regained my Christmas Mojo (thanks for that term Dianna!) and I am enjoying every moment of every holiday that exists out there! :)

We celebrated Winter Solstice with some wonderful food and drinks. A traditional Yuletide meal in Quebec is the tourtière (tour-tee-air). It is basically a meat pie. It is not easy to reproduce but I got lucky and found a wonderful recipe called Tourtière de Grand-Maman. I translated it and posted it on my recipe page Grandma's Tourtière. It was pretty darn close to the authentic stuff! With mashed potatoes and my Homemade (sweet) Ketchup, this was such a wonderful meal!

My Yule Log pride and joy...FIVE hours of prep! Check out my "snowmen" lol...they look like ghosts, but you get the idea! Alex and I made this cake together, it was such a great afternoon!

Here is an action shot of me making a bird's nest with my new cake decorating set! :)

For dessert (after a good long walk and a few hours digesting the meat pie) we had our cake with a Brandy Alexander. Oh my oh my...this little cocktail is SO was the first time we've made it and it had a bit of an egg nog thang about it! Loved it!

Every Winter Solstice night, I light my ice lanterns. It's something I've been doing for years! The lanterns are made by filling up balloons with water then freezing them.  I made five of them, but one broke apart. Three of them remained intact and the fourth had the top broken off, which I kind of like as I look at the photo! Alex and I sat outside and just enjoyed the moment. Trust me, it was a moment, at -26 on Yule night...eek...we didn't stay out long!

Look at me! :) I made a Christmas hat!! This idea was so spur of the moment. I wanted to look the part when we went out to light the ice lanterns...I'm still wondering where I found this free time!

I followed the Man Hat Pattern - super easy. And I actually made the pom pom! What a mess lol! But I found a great video called The Secret To Making The Perfect Pom Pom. I followed it and it turned out really nice! I'll wear this for another week or so, then it'll go into my Christmas box and become a new tradition for next Winter Solstice. :) Me in my Christmas hat means holiday fun and celebration! :) 

I probably won't blog again until after Christmas so I want to wish all of my Blogger friends the happiest and merriest of days! Merry Christmas, you are all so special to me! xoxox!!

Wednesday, December 20, 2017


Hello Everyone :)

I'm so pleased that I found some time to rejoin Michael's Scribble Picnic, the theme today is Christmastime! I decided to share some watercolour/acrylics that I did this week. They are all part of a Christmas card for my darling Alex, who promised not to peak on my blog, so I can post them! (Follow the link above to see other scribbles or to join in!)

For his Christmas gift this year, I have a theme going...I'll blog about that AFTER Christmas though! :) I'm putting the cards together like a little story book about the gifts, the theme is "A Cozy Christmas". 

I've enjoyed painting these little winter and Christmas scenes, they were a lot of fun to do.

I have made so many of these little cards this year, and surprisingly haven't run out of ideas!

This was my challenge. I've mentioned before that I'm not good at portraits, but I wanted to try to do a cardinal because Alex's grandmother used to paint them. He has such fond memories of his grandparents so I try to bring back these memories by adding these little touches when I give him gifts and cards. :)

I love this time of year, I don't even mind the deep freeze lately! We're having a grand ol' time! It snowed BUCKETS the last few days! It's so beautiful outside! 

Guess who this happy couple represents? :) Alex with his fedora and me with my knitted hat! I feel like such a kid, I really can't wait until Christmas morning!!

Sunday, December 17, 2017

🎅 Stockings, Sweet Treats, Fondue Night and The North Pole 🎅

Hi everyone :)

It's nice to have time to blog again, I really missed it. It's very relaxing and fun for me and I love all of my Blogging friends!! :)

Last week, Alex and I had another monthly anniversary so we had our traditional fondue night. This month it was the classic Swiss Fondue. With my homemade bread, this was a food-coma inducing rich! 

This was the best picture I could get of the fondue because as luck would have it, as soon as it was ready, we lost power. It's been in the minus twenties (minus tens in Farenheit), and luckily the power wasn't out too long. Just long enough for us to keep warm and eat by candlelight, which was nice and romantic!

Fridge Fun. :) Speaking of power, we don't have any back up power here. We have a leaky fireplace which wouldn't heat a small cupboard. Alex's office on the top floor bottles in the heat somehow so when the outages in the winter are extensive, we all huddle up in there. That'll change when we have our own place. We are lucky that the car has outlets so as long as the battery is good, we can charge our phones and computers.

I finally finished knitting all of the pet stockings that I'd started early November! I just didn't have it in me to knit their entire names, so each stocking has their initial. Charlie, Jack, Marlene (the "M" was so hard to sew on!!!), Pavlov, Stella...and the cats Dana, Leo and Oscar. They'll all get little treats in their stocking because they've been so good! :)

Hung up with care. :) I really wanted to knit stockings for me and Alex too, but I didn't have the time, so that'll be for next year! Here is the link to the Mini Stockings for anyone who wants to knit them, they are so easy.

The little boozie chocolates from the countdown calendar. :) They all taste the same to us, I suspect they are all filled with a type of brandy can I test this theory??? Must consume more lol!

I made my Nutella Cigars yesterday too for some calorific snacking! These don't last very long.

Heck, neither do these Rum Balls!!! If you are not a drinker, you could get tipsy eating a few of these little treats. I got the recipe from Martha Stewart...I thought I was a free-pouring baker when it comes to adding booze, my gosh...her rum balls are delicious but very "rummy"!!! :) I made a special holiday cocktail to add to the treat, The North Pole. It's a mix of brandy, maple syrup, vanilla, ginger, milk and chocolate sauce. The original recipe called for vodka and Kahlua, but I chose to switch it up a bit for our taste! By the way, I will never buy chocolate sauce again after I tried this recipe for Easy Chocolate Sauce. It was just lovely. The recipe calls for chocolate chips, but I used Lindt 70% dark chocolate and it's delicious! The cocktail was so good, very hard to slowly sip! I think it would make a nice warm hot chocolate too.

So that is the latest news from our little cozy cottage in the Laurentians! It's a sunny Sunday, frigid outside I'm staying indoors and I'm starting to knit some slippers for myself. Eight days until Christmas! How is everyone's weekend going? The barbarians neighbours are here this weekend and showing off how much fun they have revving up their snowmobiles and racing up and down the street, day in and day out. Can't wait to leave this village!!!