Friday, January 26, 2018

A Toast, Hats and More Comfort Food


Yesterday was Robbie Burns Day, a celebration of Scotland's national poet. This is a day that I've been celebrating for many years. I learned about this day from my beloved late grandfather - a true Scot who was born on the outskirts of Edinburgh Scotland in 1917. His name was Wilfred and his favourite scotch was Ballantine's and when I told Alex about that, he bought me a bottle of the 21-year old whisky for my birthday in 2014. It's very good...very "peaty" (smoky) but smooth and lovely with a little ice and water. Scotch is very different from Canadian Whisky and Bourbon - which are very sweet. Anyway...whisky tasting and reviews are for another post lol!

I only bring the good stuff out once or twice a year! :) My grandfather passed away in the 1980's but I really miss him. He used to tell me to ignore my parents (for good reason!), I always felt safe with him. He lived with us, and during high school, I would rush home to watch soap operas with him while he sipped Ballantine's from his thermos. We had very serious discussions about how Luke and Laura were causing so much drama on General Hospital...I think my granddad loved the soap opera drama even more than I did lol! :) He was in World War II, but never spoke of it. I wish I had a photo of him, but was denied this when I requested it from the parents. That's okay, he's in my memories. Miss you granddad! :)


My favourite Rabbie poem. :)


Those mannequins heads were freaking me out too much so Alex found another way to hang my hats! You know those springy door stoppers that you put on the wall behind the door? Those are our new hat hooks! They work really well! The middle hat was another early birthday gift from Alex. He got a great deal on it used and really wanted to make sure it fit me. I have all the feathers in too. I love these hats!


My fourth hat is on the "orange" wall because I'm a SLAVE to colour coordination lol! :) Actually it just didn't fit with the others. By the way, the big painting will be updated soon. I have our three cats...our three dogs...and my two pugs to the left (miss them so much too!). I want to add Stella and Pavlov, even though they'll be leaving us by next fall. :)


What do you do when you have a spaghetti squash and leftover chili? Chili Stuffed Spaghetti Squash! With some cheddar on top, this was so delicious! I love spaghetti squash, it's so sweet and nutritious.


Alex had an appointment in town this morning, so when we got home, I made dinner early. He's still suffering his insomnia, but each day he's staying up a little later so in a week or so, he'll be back to a schedule he likes. I made a Bacon and Potato Frittata. It was really good! What is everyone eating these days?  I MUST know...it gives me inspiration and ideas!!

62 comments:

Sandi said...

What wonderful memories of your grandpa, Rain. General Hospital! I watched that for a while. Did they at one time get trapped in a cave and the whole season was them trying to get out? I think it may have involved Scorpio. Or I could be thinking of another show (Texas?)

You reminded me of a Burns Night tradition here. A friend of my husband's used to throw a party every year to celebrate the poet. Not sure he was a Burns fan, but he did love to throw a party! ;-)

Rain said...

LOL Sandi, I was IN LOVE with Robert Scorpio ha ha. I think there was a time when there was a family that was going to FREEZE the earth and Luke saved the day...the Cassadine's freezing machine lol...cave? I'm sure yes. Those soap operas can get wild at times. That's fun that your friend had a Burns Night! I love that tradition, it really makes me think of my granddad and all those nice memories! :)

Stefanie said...

Man, you granddad was hardcore, sippin' his Ballentine from a thermos, LOL! I'd be interested in reading you reviews on whiskey. Many I know love MaCallan 18 or 12. I've only used Bulleit Bourbon for baking or cooking. That was a beautiful poem.
I restocked our fridge so I'm back to making egg McMuffin's. I made one each for the baby and for my mister. We have two racks of cooked ribs in the fridge from last night. A Costco pack is three, baby back racks. I was cutting one last night and damn, that meat was falling off! The bones just slipped right off. I picked up today at Costco a corned beef kit. I made it once and it was so tender. I'm glad I spotted it. But that won't be until Tuesday. After we finish up the ribs, I'll be making pan-fried carne asada beef.

tpals said...

I love your orange wall; it's my son's favorite color. Will you add in the spare pets yourself? So talented!

I'm an awful cook, so will leave that in your capable hands. Lol

My only bottle of whisky, Glenmorangie, has lasted 15 years; which gives you a hint on how much I like drinking it.

Rain said...

Hi Stefanie :)) Yeah, my granddad knew how to relax and enjoy his latter years :) He put the scotch in a thermos with some ice so that he wouldn't have to keep walking downstairs to refill it! Smart guy. Also to escape my parents' judgments! He was a gentle soul. :)

I LOVE THE MAC CALLAN!!! Scotch sisters lol! ;) I tasted the 18 at a wine and spirits show and boy oh boy was that ever good. So far it's still on the wish list! :) Nice palate you have there. Bulleit is Alex's favourite bourbon. It's so nice and sweet. I drink all of my whiskys with ice and water to cut down the harshness of the alcohol. That way you can really taste the "melange" of flavours! I'm a Canadian whisky nut though.

I love the idea of homemade Egg McMuffin's. That is brilliant. They are so quick to make, do you cook the eggs in the microwave? Oh the ribs...fall off the bone ribs are so good. I actually bought some ribs last week to make sometime this month too. I've never had carne asada beef. I just looked up an image on Google and it looks like something Alex would love, thanks for the idea! :)

Rain said...

But Tpals, Glenmorangie is such a great single malt!!! :) We have one too. It's not as smoky as all of the other scotch's. 15 years is okay, I have a few wines that I bought in 2013 that I plan to age for 20 years! :)

Oh thank you, yes, I will be painting the spare pets on the orange sunset painting. I did that painting in 2014 when my second pug passed away. I added two of Alex's cats, then I thought that this would be a memorial for all of our pets! I think it'll be really full when I reach my 100's ;)

Sunnybrook Farm said...

Wow, 21 years! I think mine is 21 months. Maybe some day I will try the good stuff.

Plowing Through Life (Martha) said...

Oh, Rain, your grandfather sounds lovely. What a wonderful tribute to him. I'm so glad you had this amazing, positive man in your life. One good person often makes up for many not so good ones.

We've been really slack around here. I think the weather is weighing us down a bit. I've also got a lot of things on my mind lately that I'm trying to sort through and that can be a little tiresome.

But things are good. This morning we finished the adoption with the kitten and she's now 100% ours. There were a lot of new cats, dogs and even rabbits at the shelter this morning. That was very heartbreaking to see. I wish I could take them all home!

Christine said...

Nice to stop by and learn about your grandfather and Robbie Burns day. Too bad you don't have a photo though. Your meal looks delicious.

Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

Wha's like us?

Debra She Who Seeks said...

I love the Scottish folk song that uses Burns' red, red rose lyrics but it's impossible to sing unless you have a full octave range. Glad you liked my dollarydoos reference today, LOL!

Stefanie said...

How does one get used to Scotch? Just by drinking it more often? Thank you for sharing about your yoga experiences. My teacher said we can roll up the end of the mat for more support. I think I may have to do that. I should look into strengthening my wrists.

Birdie said...

I went to Robbie Burns celebrations for years! My daughter was in Highland dancing from the age of 3 and is still dancing but is grown and gets herself to and from. They were fun for several years but then they got to be a chore with her numerous dance outs. As I said on another blog, do you know you can hear bagpipes hours after you have one home?

Does anyone in your family do geneology? I have a subscription to Ancestry world and Newspapers.com and can look for a picture of your grandpa if you want. I might not be able to find anything but I’m getting pretty good at it. I’ve been doing geneology for about 12 years. I did find my husband’s biological mother after 6 years of trying. :-)

Pam said...

I like a good peaty malt myself and a bottle lasts forever and a day. I missed out on Burn,s night this year, the days seemed to whizz by. The hat storage is a marvellous idea and like some of your other readers I love the orange wall. I quite fancy making a yellow fabric on in my sewing room. I have stacks of yellow prints in various sized bits and some hops to mount them.

laurie said...

what beautiful memories of life with your grandfather,, we are of Scottish ancestry, my great grand parents came here from Scotland and in that tradition I have been a highland dancer since I was 5, I carried on to teach highland dance for years, I danced every year on Bobbie Burns night at the festivities, marching in with my piper along with the hagus lol,,good memories,, Rain your warm arrange sunset glow paintings are beautiful, I love the silhouette paintings, I have done quite a few of them in the past,, always a favorite project, they accent the hats so beautifully,, the spaghetti squash sounds amazing!! Do you know I have never cooked that squash lol,, You have inspired me!

Marsha said...

My hubby and son are scotch drinkers. They both prefer single malts. Son loves the lowland and islay ones while hubby prefers the highland scotches. Me.....I seldom drink hard liquor. Give me a sweet wine or a light beer. I'm easy lol.

The orange wall is beautiful and what a lovely tribute to your pets.

I wish I would have known your Grandpa. He sounds like a wonderful man to sit and enjoy an evening with.

Last night we had wild Canadian salmon with butternut squash and spinach. So yummy. We also had Cuban Picadillo this week which is one of our favorites. I get 90% of my recipes from skinnytaste.com. She has fantastic ideas and so many varieties of foods.

baili said...

wow your grandpa sounds like wonderful person dear Rain!!!
either i wish you had his photo to share with us
either my grandparents did not allow me to take photo as according to their belief it was a sin i really regret why did not i capture them hideously

this is thrilling that he was in army and even fought in world war 2 but may be it was the trauma of war that he never spoke about it

i think you are lucky that you spent some years with him

very pretty hats !!!
you food is always so INVITING!

jaz@octoberfarm said...

well...i'm making more puppy food today! tomorrow i am making pot roasts for everyone. with spring on the horizon, i need to make the last of my special winter recipes! i had a beloved scottish grandfather too. he lived with us and was the only person in the family that paid attention to me. he died 3 months after my mom died. she was his only child and it broke his heart. i still miss him too. he always told me my father was crazy and he was right!

Mama Pea said...

I simply love all the traditions you and Alex have. That's something I'm striving to bring into our lives more and more. Important, I think.

So happy to hear your grandfather was there for you during your growing up years. Pictures are wonderful, but you'll always have the memories of him, no matter what.

The only thing I can offer of what we've been eating lately (and it's really so simple) is that our organic co-op store has been having lovely fresh spinach that we're devouring. Papa Pea's favorite way of having eggs is scrambled and I've been adding some of the chopped spinach to the mixture. Adds such color and adds great flavor and nutrition!

wisps of words said...

Oh my Dear, the last thing you need, is cooking inspiration from me!!!!!!!!!!!!! You are The Chef!!!!!!!!!!

Door stoppers for hat hangers. Brilliant!

Those orange paintings, they are lovely. Mmmmm, but I can't look back at your photos, from this comment box. Mmmmmmm... Have wondered for a long time, should I say this to you...???????????

I use a Pop Up Window, for comments. With a Pop Up Window, comments are made, at the bottom of the post. Thus, someone can scroll up and look at the post/pics, and scroll down and continue with their comment. I personally like to do this. Just having the printed words available, the way it is, with this Comment Way you use, isn't enough for me.

There! I finally said it! Please don't be mad at me. (I know you won't.) Perhaps ask the question, of all your readers.... "Do you like this Comment choice, or would you prefer Pop Up Comment Window?" If everyone likes this one, than pay no attention to me.

Hugssssssssss......

Terry said...

Hi Rain, you really DON’T want to know what i’ve had to eat. I’ve been vegetarian for longer than I know so you can guess what I’ve had. I don’t like to think I can convert anyone because you’re probably happy the way you are. It’s no big deal. Your blog is very good. It’s always well written and makes me wonder how professional you get it to look.

Rain said...

Lol Gill, I think 21 months will do the trick :) The good stuff is so much smoother though!

Rain said...

Hi Martha :) Yes, he was THE amazing positive father figure in my life growing up. I left home after he passed away. I'm so happy that kitty is YOURS. :) How nice! I know what you mean. Alex and I just cannot go near a shelter anymore. The last time we did, we got 3 dogs and a cat in the space of 3 months. Hope you're doing better. xx

Rain said...

Thanks Christine :) I do wish I had a photo, but I can see his face and hear his voice in my memories so I'm pretty happy about that! :)

Rain said...

Damn few TB, damn few...and guess what? Their dead. ;) Here's to you! :)

Rain said...

Hi Debra :) Those Celtic singers have amazing voices. Oh yes, the dollarydoos slay me every time lol!

Rain said...

Hi Stefanie :) Without sounding too much like a lush, yes, drink and be merry lol...I think that tasting some good ones are the key to enjoying them. Also tasting them like a champ. There is something called the "Kentucky Chew" where you chew the whisky in your mouth and swish it around, exhale deeply then swallow. This helps your mouth catch all of the flavours and nuances. But some people just don't like the peat. Some scotches are horrible for that, one is called "Peat Chimney"and it TASTES LIKE A CHIMNEY. I like a more subtle flavour! I think yoga can be quite violent at times, sounds funny. But those of us with joint issues have to be very careful. It's hard on the hands!

Rain said...

Hi Birdie :) Yes! I saw the video of your daughter and she dances well! I did that for years too. That's interesting about the bagpipes...reminds me of when I go fishing on the lake, I feel like I'm on waves for hours when I come home too.

You are SO SWEET to offer to find a photo! Without going into too much detail though, I prefer to leave the past where it is. Just having to give information about my parents would kind of upset my balance. I let them go ages ago and just don't want to go back. But, really, a heartfelt THANK YOU for thinking of me. xxx :)

Rain said...

Hi Pam :) I'm usually into blues and black and whites for the paintings, but I had an orange phase at one point. :) My peaty malts last a long time, I have a nice selection, 7 singles and 2 blended...they are lasting a very long time!

Rain said...

Hi Laurie :) Another dancer! :) I did that for years as a kid but never continued it. Looking back it's a shame I didn't. Now my creaky bones won't allow it though lol! Oh Haggis...I tried it once and couldn't stomach it...I'm not very into my ancesteral foods! :) The silhouette photos are fun for me. I'm so bad at detail so I really enjoy them. I started eating spaghetti squash when I was trying to heal my body one year and went vegan. It's really just like spaghetti noodles, but sweet. I hope you give it a try, it smells like Halloween when you cook it! :)

Rain said...

Hi Marsha :) I'm a fan of single malts too, the Ballantine's is the only blended whisky I have. I have the regular bottle and the 21 year old which is just as good as a single. I'm more of a Highland fan, but especially the Speyside because they are frugal with the peat! :) I love a sweet wine too and a nice brown ale. :) My grandpa was wonderful. I'm blessed to have known him for 17 years! :) Oh thank you for the link, I'm going to check out that site. I love salmon so much...it's on the shopping list for the next meal cycle! :)

Rain said...

Hi Baili :) I was young when my grandpa passed away and I didn't really take many photos back then. It's a shame I am denied the photos, but that's okay. Like I said, he was wonderful and that is my greatest memory! :) I agree that there was trauma for him in the war. All I know is that he was part of an invading force where many soldiers perished, nothing more. I can't imagine the trauma at all. And thank you, I do feel lucky I spent so much time with him! :)

Rain said...

Hi Joyce :) Oh puppy food! :) There was a time when Charlie and Jack were on a home cooked diet...then when we got Marlene, she had to be on a vet diet for bladder crystals so we switched them all to kibble. Sad though, I would love to put them on a home cooked diet again! Spring might be on your horizon, nowhere near mine yet lol! That's nice about your granddad. :)

Rain said...

Hi Mama Pea :) (**waving!!!**) Yes! It is important at least to us too, to have these traditions. It makes life special, very cozy and fun. :) The best memory I have of my grandfather is when there was an especially tense moment during the soap opera we watched...someone was going to be killed...someone was lurking and he jumped. I laughed so hard and he gave me such a scowl, then he laughed too. It was so funny. Oh I love the idea of eggs and spinach! Maybe I need to make a quiche. Tightening the belt lately, so eggs are a good inexpensive source of protein. I have spinach I froze during the summer still in the deep freeze too, thanks for the suggestion! :) Hope Papa Pea is improving! Hugs! :)

Rain said...

Hi Wisps of Words :) Are you kidding? Why would I ever be mad at you? :) Thank you for the suggestion! I changed my comments to pop ups, and like I mentioned on your blog...I thought it already was on pop ups lol... Oh The Chef lol! I try! :) Hugs right back! :)

Rain said...

Hi Terry :) Oh I'm not averse to veggie meals! Once in a while I think it's good to cut out the meats. I'm guessing you can still eat cheese on a vegetarian diet, which is a good thing! I did try a lot of different eating way back when. I had a problem that I was trying to fix through a sugar-free, gluten-free, vegan diet. I did it for a year. I figured things out and then brought back some meats and dairy. I don't really eat beef and rarely pork. I am okay with chicken and fish though. And thanks, I'm so happy you enjoy my blog and I'm glad to see you back! :)

Magic Love Crow said...

Such a good memory with your grandfather! I remember Luke and Laura! LOL! Love your orange paintings! You are an excellent cook! I'm hungry now! LOL! Big Hugs!

Rain said...

Thanks Magic Love Crow :)) It's hard to forget Luke and Laura lol! Such a staple of my teen years that soap opera. I really love the orange paintings too, they're on the wall right in front of my desk and I find myself just gazing at them now and then. The pet painting especially...more good memories! :)

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

Love your beautiful paintings and the hats! I am not much of drinker and definitely not hard liquor unless a little spiced rum in some hot cocoa in winter but you go girl! That was a lovely memory you shared with us and your grandfather must have been quite the man. I used to watch General Hospital when my oldest son was a baby...like 45 years ago? I remember at that time it was Luke and Laura! What a hoot!
This week I made milk bread, potato chip cookies, grilled cheese and romaine and orange salad and biscotti and pizza!
That spaghetti squash looks wonderful! I need to remember to buy it...much better for you than pasta too. Have a great weekend! Hugs~Sam

Rain said...

Thank you Sam :)) Oh spiced rum in hot cocoa sounds delicious! :) In the summer I put some spiced rum in a watermelon soda and boy is that good! :) Ha! Another GH fan lol...that soap opera was so entertaining :)

I'm very intrigued by your potato chip cookies!

RO said...

I'm so glad that you have such perfect memories of your grandfather. I can tell he really loved and adored you. Material things can be taken, but the previous memories always survive. Bacon and cheese!!!! Yes, yes, and more yes, Rain! Love those colors! Hugs...RO

Mary said...

Loved the story of you and your granddad - so glad he was 'there for you' Rain, and know you miss him.

Making soups galore of course - last night's was a really good chunky veg with the addition of tons of fresh spinach and 'ancient grains' (barley, bulgar, rice, quinoa etc.) Hearty of course, and made rich with addition of a little organic (the best) heavy cream at the end! Today I'm making 'frijoles negro', my version of black bean chili. It's going remain wet and dreary so a bowl by the fire tonight while watching "VICTORIA" on PBS will be warming.

Happy Sunday - Mary

Rain said...

Thanks RO :) My granddad and I got along the best. My other four siblings wanted nothing to do with him because he was too "old". I really enjoyed his company! I learned a lot from him and I'm so grateful. :) Hope you're having a nice Sunday! :)

Rain said...

Thanks Mary :) He was there for me, thankfully. I think if he weren't there, life would have been a lot different. :) Soups galore! I'm thinking about some more slow cooker stews. This is soup weather and they really are comforting and nutritious. What a great idea to sip on soup by the fire, I love it! :) Chili is always a great idea this time of year too! Stay warm and cozy! :)

Nancy @ Little Homestead In Boise said...

I adored my Grandfather on my Dad's side. He was the only man in the family that I felt really loved me, as is. My other set of grandparents died when I was very young. He was in WW 1 and WW 2, and had terrible night terrors. I suspect he had PTSD. I have fond memories of buying him a special cigar when it was his birthday, or for Christmas. He loved those!

For food- I did Minestrone soup last weekend, pork chops tonite with roasted carrots and parsnips. Next week I'll do a boiled dinner of polish sausage, carrots, and cabbage.

Pam Jackson said...

So reading through this post I have to say my eyes hit on your painting of the cats and dogs! I love it. I might have to do one something like that of Dakota and Lily. Of course they were somewhat painted on my Christmas card. But this way, I would not have to get close to what they look like and I can handle that better! Food looks amazing! And Ilove the hats hanging.

Becki said...

Chili Stuffed Spaghetti Squash. Wow! Sounds interesting - but not nearly so interesting as the Bacon and Potato Frittata. Mmmmmm.... I'm drawn to the less wholesome food, I'm afraid. Sigh. Love your hat hanging solution. And all your hats. And the explanation of the painting of the animals is sweet. Your animals are so fortunate to have you, Rain. Have a good week, friend!

Becki said...

I meant to also say I'm glad you found solace and comfort in the company of your grandfather. I did not have the opportunity to know my grandparents (the last living one died when I was four). I imagine the companionship of a grandparent to be a wonderful gift.

Andrea Priebe said...

I love spaghetti squash too ... I often serve it with spagetti sauce since it is so much more nutritious than spaghetti noodles. Or, just tossed with butter, salt, pepper and garlic or even better, pesto. I am making soups because it has been so cold. They just do the trick to warm the our insides ... it is a feel good food. I love your hats and you should take your picture in one and use that for your profile picture ... I bet your are stunning in a hat. I sent you my e-mail and am hoping we can untangle the mystery of instagram together. Thank you, Rain ...

Andrea @ From the Sol

Rain said...

Hi Nancy :) I love that memory you shared about buying your granddad a cigar! It's nice to keep those memories alive :) I saw your Minestrone and it looked so good!!

Rain said...

Thank you Pam :) I love doing those silhouette paintings because I still have not perfected the art of detail! Well, at least facial detail. I did a few watercolours of the dogs and it took me hours and hours and I didn't quite enjoy it! That's why I'm doing the drawing challenge, to see if drawing is really in the cards for me or not! So I know what you mean by "handling it" better if you don't need to focus on faces! Even the furry faces!!

Rain said...

Hi Becki :) Thank you :) I'm sorry to hear that you missed out on grandparents...though the grandmothers in my family were not too nice, my paternal grandfather was a star. I sometimes wish I could have found out so much more about him! :) Oh gosh, as you know, I'm drawn to the less wholesome food too lol! I vow to eat more fresh veggies though this summer, but only my own grown veggies, so I have planning and work to do for that! :)

Rain said...

Hi Andrea :) I do hope we can untangle the IG for you! I replied to your email so let me know the info hopefully we can move from there! Once you've got it, it's pretty easy and you can interact with so many nice people there too. Thanks for the idea! My next profile picture will be with one of the hats on, and of course, one of the dogs with me! :) I love spaghetti squash too. I often will just toss it with some Feta, black olives, olive oil and tomatoes, very delicious! :)

RO said...

I really love your hats! Hugs...RO

Guillaume said...

Last time I had scotch was because I needed one when I learned the daughter of a friend had a boyfriend.

Harry Flashman said...

One of my favorite poems is "To a mouse, on turning her up in her nest with a plow."

I didn't know about that tradition, but it sounds like a good one.

Leigh said...

Hurray for color coordination! I'm definitely with you on that one. I think it has something to do with being (or having been) a painter.

The squash and the frittata look really good. But then, everything you make looks good. :)

Rain said...

Thanks RO :) One of these days I'll post a fashion show of me with the hats...just need some cowboy boots to match lol! :)

Rain said...

LOL Guillaume, that's a good reason for a "taste of courage"! :) I'll be watching for your cheese post!!! :)

Rain said...

That's a great poem too Harry, I'm fond of the Robbie Burns poems. And I have to say that Scotch was pretty darn good on a cold night! :)

Rain said...

Thanks Leigh :) I'm really trying to stick to comfort foods for the winter. It's amazing was a good meal can do for the spirit! And yes, I think I'm the same as you, it has to do with the ar-teest in me that I want everything to match or at least look good together! :)

Nicole Thomas said...

Wonderful memories of your grandpa :)
Your orange wall looks so pretty ... can't wait to see the update.
Yummm...spaghetti squash. I was very successful growing them last summer. Since I am the only one eating them in this household, I shared them with the goats ... who love them just as much as I do :)