Sunday, January 19, 2020

Sunday Food and Pets Post - πŸŽ‚ Alex's Birthday! πŸŽ‚


Hi Everyone! 😊

For those of you in cold climates, are you keeping warm? With daytime temperatures reaching "highs" of -25 C, it's just too cold to be outside for very long! In the winter, when the sun is out and the sky is blue, that means frigid temperatures! It sure is beautiful on the mountain though! 


It's so cold that even our rugged little husky girl Charlie needs a sweater and some boots for her daily walk! 


Charlie and I are the only ones with the stamina to handle an hour walk every day in this cold weather! (The selfie was her idea!) 😁


Alex's birthday was last week. I asked him what he wanted for dinner. He said he didn't want dinner this year...just a BIG breakfast with TWO birthday cakes. I made his Gramma's recipe for Toasettes, some Lacy Hash Browns and my Fart and Dart Beans. I also made him Iced Coffee and one of his favourite cocktails, a Strawberry Gin Fizz.


His two birthday cakes were a Kahlua Cheesecake and a tiramisu cake.


This cheesecake was simply decadent! The recipe is a bit intimidating because of the number of ingredients, but it's super simple to make! It has an Oreo cookie crust with a layer of chocolate ganache, then the cheesecake filling AND a sweet creamy topping covered with ganache threads...total winner!


I made this tiramisu cake totally from scratch - including the Mascarpone Cheese! This was definitely delicious, though my Mascarpone recipe didn't make enough, so the cake was rather flat. Also, I feel like the ingredient amounts may have been a bit off in the original recipe...I'll include the recipe link here, though I may have to tweak a few things before I add it to my own recipe archive!


Another fondue night!!! (Good thing I exercise every day!)...this is one of my favourite fondues: Tomato Pizza Fondue. Believe it or not, this was a "clean out the fridge" meal! I had a bit of Fontina cheese lying around and a half loaf of bread so I figured why not? 😊 


Before the cold snap, we had a few days of heavy snow and high winds. Here's Marlene braving the winds - she loves to be outside!


Here's a photo I took while I was in bed watching some art lessons...cats and dogs sleeping all together - I love our pets! πŸΆπŸ±πŸΆπŸ±πŸΆπŸ±


Once Jack gets a toy, he won't give it up! Look at this silly little hound dog with a big ball in his mouth. 

We are entering another cold snap and then a few days of heavy snow, so I am HIBERNATING!!! See you on Thursday for our art date! The theme is Chinese New Year!

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Thursday Art Date: Jagged and Ice; and Paint Party Friday!


Hello Friends! 😊😊

Welcome to Thursday's Art Date, today our theme is Jagged and Ice. I decided to go with an Ice theme for my art this week. Bugs Bunny is on his way to the gold medal with his ice skating! I don't think Daffy Duck is too impressed though. 😏


I've been doing a lot of charcoal drawings, I used toned blue paper for this one. It's very subtle, but there are blue hues in this paper. I used a lot of white charcoal for my drawing of an iceberg.


Here's another iceberg - this time on black sketch paper with white charcoal. This paper is called ArtAgain, it's recycled, I love that! Those look like icy waters!


It was rough trying to shovel out after the ice storm last weekend. There was a layer of ice, probably 6 inches, plus a foot of snow on top...this little finch didn't let that stop him though. He pecked his way right through the ice for the sunflower seeds below!


My art classes continue to bewitch me!😊 This is my Rhino after live lesson number four - we've been working in vertical sections each week. Last night we worked on the forehead, eye, jaw and chin. We also added darker values to the area around the nose and mouth. I love these classes, I get to interact with students from all around the globe! And everyone is very supportive. There's a forum we all belong to and we exchange progress photos and encourage each other, it's very cool! 


On that note, thanks friends for your support too, it means the world to me. πŸ’™ Almost to the day two years ago, I posted my first drawing. It was Chilly Willy, the little Looney Tunes penguin who cried ice cubes. I've been very public about my artistic journey, which was very difficult for me at first, but a very warm thanks to all of you who have made it so easy to showcase my creativity! πŸ’™ 


Here is a black and white collage of photos I took during our icy winter weather. I'm very much looking forward to spring!!

Well, that's all for now folks! But please check out the link widget below to see more Jagged and Ice artwork! And please join me on Sunday for my food and pets post. πŸΎπŸΎπŸΎ


I'm also linking up with Paint Party Friday tomorrow!

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January 23rd: Next Thursday's theme is Chinese New Year. Click on the link for ideas and inspiration! Remember it's all about creating. You can showcase your paintings, drawings, photography, sculpting, baking, poetry...whatever you like! 🎨

Thursday Art Date With Rain. Click on the link for a description of the art date as well as a list of upcoming themes. 

Don't forget to add the URL link to your post (not your blog) to the link gadget below to share your wonderful creations! The link gadget expires Sunday at noon (EST).

⚡⚡⚡⚡  Be forewarned ⚡⚡⚡⚡ If you include a link that doesn't follow the art date theme, it will be removed! Thanks for your understanding and for respecting my fellow artists who put their minds, hearts and souls into creating art for the themes!

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Sunday, January 12, 2020

Sunday Food and Pets Post - A Cheesy Week!

Quiet Mountain Night

Hello my Friends! 😊

I hope everyone out there is happy! I've been on a high recently...maybe it's all the cheese I'm eating...maybe it's the art classes...I don't know, but I love life, despite the fact that we are dealing with some ice storms lately. Last night it sounded like the roof was being pelted mercilessly by little bullets of freezing rain...we lost power off and on; now it's snowing so those power lines are heavy with ice...I hope we don't have a repeat of the 1998 Ice Storm. We lost power for weeks back then. At least I'm more prepared now if that happens.


We had our monthly fondue night early this month! Alex and I were craving my Smoked Cheddar and Apple Cider Fondue. Delicious! I buy the smoked Cheddar but I do have plans in the future to set up a smoke house for my cheeses!


We used one of my Homemade Camemberts to make a Baked Cam. Can you read what I wrote? I'm such a sucker for anything romantic!! πŸ’˜ (Note to Laurie: I spelled out Rain Loves Alex in pastry dough!) I've mentioned several times that my cheeses never melt haven't I? I even figured out WHY my cheeses will never melt. And I got confirmation from credible sources that my cheeses will never melt without proper milk fat...and...


MY CAM MELTED! Whoda thunkit? I honestly am baffled and I can't process it lol...I'm just happy it did melt and it was delicious! Next year when I have more time, I'm going to really experiment with my cheeses to try to figure this melty thing out.


We spread all of that melty goodness on my No Knead Bread with some apricot jam and it was so tasty! The rest of the week we had leftovers, pasta dishes and stir fry's. 



Is there a hobby you have that you just simply lose yourself in? I've found mine. ART. All forms, painting, drawing, charcoal, pastels, markers...I'm so ensconced in my art classes lately! I did a charcoal of Leo, our beautifully affectionate Alpha cat - we call him Big Boss Leo. He has always been a bit of a loner. Now he's always near me, I'm guessing it's because I let him taste my cheeses! He's very sweet and has a gentle nature.

But then I lose myself in blogging, cheese making, baking and cooking too. I enjoy every moment in my cozy home with my pets and Alex. Life is amazing!

Stella, Jack, Marlene, Pavlov, Charlie

We taught our dogs to "take your place" - which means they all have to lie down while we prepare their meals and stay there until the bowls are down. Then, Alex or I stand behind the bowls and say "OKAY!" and they all rush to the food! This is a photo I took two years ago when we were babysitting Stella and Pavlov. We taught them to take their place too. Alex is standing by their bowls, about to say "OKAY!". Look at that eye contact! We have such good dogs!


I feed Charlie in the kitchen in the mornings because she howls with excitement when I ask her to take her place with Marlene and Jack. When she's alone, she's quiet so she doesn't wake Alex up! I just wanted to show you how lazy she's become. When I say "OKAY!" she simply crawls along the floor and eats lying down! Crazy critters...

I hope you all have a nice end to the weekend. I'll see you on Thursday for our art date, the theme is Jagged and Ice

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Thursday Art Date: Snow Creatures and Paint Party Friday!


Hello Friends! 😊

Welcome to Thursday's Art Date, today our theme is Snow Creatures. Do you remember the Looney Tunes Abominable Snowman named Hugo? I loved that episode!


Hugo wasn't the sharpest icicle on the mountain, and mistook poor Daffy as a rabbit. He was a big goofy snow creature! This character was based on Lennie from "Of Mice and Men".


My art classes continue to be fun and sometimes challenging! I drew a few snow creatures with charcoals this week. The first was a Lynx. I like how it looks, but I just couldn't get the eyes right! And I'm sure many of you artists out there can relate...sometimes a little lack of confidence won't allow you to "push the envelope" so to speak. I think I could have worked a little more blending on the eyes, but I was so afraid of ruining it. I have to step out of that comfort zone!

A note to my friend Laurie who has lost her vision: The eyes kind of look like those old fashioned hypnosis spiral things lol...not enough dark value I'm guessing!


My caribou however, I'm very happy with! This was done in charcoals as well and I'm super proud of it! I'm really happy how I was able to show the texture of his coat.


I got a bunch of new art supplies, including some toned drawing paper, it's so much fun! I have to say, I never thought my life would turn in this artistic direction...is this was middle age is all about? Discovering your true creative self? 😊

I'm currently taking a weekly live art lesson on Wednesday nights. It's fun and relaxing and I get a chance to ask the instructor questions live. We're on week three right now, drawing a rhinoceros for this lesson series; this is definitely NOT a snow creature though! I'm finding the detail work to be very meditative.


OH CHEESE! Yesterday we opened up my Colby and Camembert - SUCCESS with an astoundingly capital S!!! πŸ˜‹πŸ˜‹πŸ˜‹πŸ˜‹ The Colby was mild and creamy and the Camembert was very firm, just as I hoped it would be! I normally make the French version of Cams, runny and stinky...but this one is much milder and look at the firm cheese inside that bloomy white mould!!! I'm so happy about these two! I'm going to make more! If you want to see a video of the taste test, check it out here: Colby and Camembert Taste Test. The dogs went nuts hearing me unwrap it all!

On that cheesy note, I'll bid you adieu for now folks! But please check out the link widget below to see more Snow Creature artwork!

Why not join in? Remember, art is in the eye of the beholder!  Last week's theme was Transformation. Leigh joined in last week to feature the Transformation of her home as she and her hubby Dan renovate it!


It's about the theme, not the medium!! 😊😊



I'm also linking up with Paint Party Friday tomorrow! And please join me on Sunday for my food and pets post. 🐾🐾🐾

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Frozen Icy River

January 16th: Next Thursday's theme is Jagged and Ice. Click on the link for ideas and inspiration! Remember it's all about creating. You can showcase your paintings, drawings, photography, sculpting, baking, poetry...whatever you like! 🎨

Thursday Art Date With Rain. Click on the link for a description of the art date as well as a list of upcoming themes. 

Don't forget to add the URL link to your post (not your blog) to the link gadget below to share your wonderful creations! The link gadget expires Sunday at noon (EST).

⚡⚡⚡⚡  Be forewarned ⚡⚡⚡⚡ If you include a link that doesn't follow the art date theme, it will be removed! Thanks for your understanding and for respecting my fellow artists who put their minds, hearts and souls into creating art for the themes!

********************

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Sunday Food and Pets Post - ☃️ Snow Dogs ☃️


Hi Everyone! 😊

How are you all doing today? In my neck of the woods, winter has shown her true colour - WHITE! It snowed SO MUCH the last week. The dogs love it! 

πŸ’š I'm sending lots of healing prayers to my Australian friends who are struggling with the fires over there.
I wish I could send you some of my snow. πŸ’š 


On New Year's Eve, we had our traditional Raclette dinner. This was the first year we didn't have any meat with it, but I didn't really miss it with all of the delicious veggies I served!


I made tuxedo napkins! 😊 Or are they smoking jackets?


We used store bought Raclette cheese and the Raclette Cheese I Made. We mixed the two together because my homemade cheeses don't melt very well. We put my cheese under the store bought and they both kind of melted together, it was delicious! I figured out why my cheese won't and will never melt (until I get a few cows). If you want to read about it, take a look at the post on Rainy Day Cheese Making.


At midnight, we toasted in 2020 with some Brandy Alexanders, Rum Balls and Bailey's Truffles. We aren't much for bubbly, but we do love those cocktails! The Bailey's truffles were very good, so I'll include the link to the recipe I found online - but they were way too melty. I planned to coat them with dark and white chocolate, but they never set, even after leaving them overnight in the deep freezer. Anyone have any ideas as to why they didn't set?


On New Year's Day I made a Vegetarian TourtiΓ¨re. Verdict? Too heavy on the lentils. Again, I'll include the link to the recipe, but I think if I make this again, I will cut the lentils way down and add more mushrooms and potatoes. It was still very good with mashed potatoes and my Homemade Fruit Ketchup.


For dessert I made individual English Trifles.


After all of the holiday feasting, it was time to bid farewell to excess (at least for a while!) πŸ˜‡ On January 2nd we celebrated Yule's Twelfth Night. I made a Cream of Chicken Soup for me...


...and a Pasta E Fagioli Soup for Alex. We had some leftover Brie on my Homemade Bread to go with it. Dessert was leftovers.


The Pagan Twelfth Night celebrates the upcoming orchard season and closes up the Yuletide festivities. I dug up and lit my Ice Lanterns (they were under about 3 feet of snow); and we sipped on Apple Cider Wassail while relaxing and enjoying the quiet evening.


Alex and I have gotten used to eating one meal in the evening while we graze a little during the daytime, so we often miss the deliciousness of a good breakfast. Last night I made Toasettes (pronounced tow-sets). This is a traditional breakfast that Alex's French Grandma used to make. It's basically a take on a "toad in the hole". 

There isn't really a French word for toast. You could say "pain grillΓ©" (grilled bread); but most Quebecers simply say "toast" but don't pronounce the "t" at the end. That's why Alex's Grandma coined this dish a toaSette.

It's a slice of toast with Cheez Whiz spread on top (I used my Homemade Cheez Whiz), and an egg. We used to add slices of bacon, but this year we added tomatoes. It's all baked in the oven and oh boy oh boy! πŸ˜‹ I served it with my Lacy Hash Browns and some Iced Coffees.


The husky gals LOVE this weather. They never want to come inside!


Jack loves to run in the snow, but not for too long. He's much happier inside our cozy home. Here he is with Marlene, getting very excited to get back to his warm cuddly bed!

I hope you're all keeping well! See you on Thursday for our art date, the theme is Snow Creatures!