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 Cake...my 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 GOOD...it 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 meal...so 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 liqueur...how 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 though...so 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!!!

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Cakes and Decorations and Presents!

I do believe this is the longest I've gone without a blog post! I think that our lives are settling down at a quicker pace now, and both Alex and I are so relieved! In lieu of Christmas cookies this past weekend, I made a delicious and moist Carrot Cake (does this count as a vegetable??) 😁 I halved the recipe and put it in a loaf pan. It was gone in two days lol...Last night I made a new recipe that turned out okay, Rum and Egg Nog Bundt Cake. I find most Bundt cakes a little dry for some reason, I have to adjust my oven temperature maybe...it is definitely a nice cake, tastes just like egg nog and rum! Since we can't really handle icing sugar, I frost all of my cakes with a Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting. I use maple syrup instead of honey, and it's very delicious! For the Bundt cake, I added rum to the frosting too and that made it very delectable! I'll be back to cookies this weekend though!

We went out to get our tree on Monday. This brings some much needed cozy Christmas cheer to our home! We always decorate with red, we love it! So far no dog has pee'd on the tree and no cat has torn it down lol...these are REAL concerns trust me lol!

When Alex lived in New Jersey, he would help his cousin sell Christmas trees in New York each season. He said they would make little "Charlie Brown" trees from the extra slices of the trunks. They would take a slice, make a hole and glue a branch in and sell it for $1. Well, he made one for me, for free lol...and I decorated it a little bit! :)

Speaking of Charlie Brown, I watched A Charlie Brown Christmas last night! When I finally get myself a piano, I'm learning this whole album...my favourites are Linus and Lucy, and Christmas is Coming...click the links if you want to hear the tunes! Do you revert to any childhood Christmas favourites? I also watched National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation last night...I love that movie!

I celebrate the Winter Solstice each year. As we know, it's the shortest day of the year and some things I do are to put out ice lanterns in the snow at night, make a Yule Log cake and hang symbols of the sun in my window. In this case, it's oranges that I dehydrated last year. I'm encouraging the sun to see my oranges and come back quickly!! It's dark at 4pm these days and I'm looking forward to more light! By the way, this is the last of my window garden, sigh...parsley and surprisingly a basil. The rest succumbed to the cold window!

I made an appetizer night for dinner. Chicken Wings (best recipe ever!), pizza and potato skins. Yum!

A quick cheese update: What's left of the Baby Swiss cheese is now sealed and aging for 3 months. I've come to terms that this will be an experiment. It smells great and the rind is very hard. There are still some blue moldy spots that I can't cut out, but we shall see. I stopped making cheeses this month because I'm so busy, but we will taste my Cheddars during the holidays and if they turned out well, I'll be making them much more often!

I got an early Christmas present last weekend! Alex made and installed a new memory board for me! The old one was something I put up really on the cheap when we moved in here a few years back. It was teetering on falling down every time I looked at it lol...so he put up a new very solid board for me, twice the size so I can put twice the memories up!! I have photos, cards from friends, little love notes from Alex and recently added a Christmas card from Martha at Plowing Through Life, whose blog is fun to read, as is her second blog Miniaturopolis, where she creates fun little scenes of miniature people, worth a look! Thank you Martha! :)

Also added to the memory board was a postcard from Mama Pea...speaking of that wonderful lady, I am a lucky gal, see these two beautifully quilted table runners?

My name was picked in a draw that Mama Pea from A Home Grown Journal had in November! Although Mama Pea is on a little break at the moment, she has a very fun and interesting blog about gardening, homesteading, ducks, geese, chickens, quilting, cooking and everything cozy and Hygge! (I'm sure I left something out!). I think her blog is fantastic, although most of you already are followers! Thanks again Mama Pea, I absolutely adore these runners! And Oscar definitely approves of the box you sent them in!!

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Dog Days of Winter

"Cheese Please". I wonder if I'll ever be able to sneak a little piece of cheese without turning around to see this gathering?

I'm just doing a quick post today to keep in touch! The migraine is gone! Yay! My two-day stomach flu is gone! Yay! It's pizza night! Yay! 

Do you feel this way? When you've been in pain for so long and finally it's gone, you feel like a new person, a million bucks? 

Here is an eleven second video of Jack (I hope it works). When we give the dogs treats, sometimes he swallows them without chewing...competition you know. So Alex fills the water bowl with little pieces of chicken to coax Jack into drinking water to make sure the treat works its way down. Well, Jack found a sneaky way to get to the chicken bits without drinking the water. Put the sound up, you can hear the air bubbles as he dunks his face in. He exhales as he's in the water and licks up the chicken from the bottom of the dish. Anyone who says animals aren't clever are very wrong!!

How is everyone doing? How is your week going? Do you have Christmas spirit? Any decorating or baking going on that I should know about?? 🌲🌲🌲

Friday, December 1, 2017

The Countdown Begins!

December 1st already...time is going way too fast for my liking! We had a snow storm last night and this is how my camera phone caught it. I had the flash on. It looks like something out of an apocalyptic movie! The sky is falling!! ;)

Does anyone make their own Christmas countdown calendar or Advent calendar? Or do you even bother? I know that they are usually for kids, but Alex and I are very young at heart. :) I make one each year and fill it with goodies. It makes the countdown to Christmas a little more exciting. All of this stuff was acquired at the dollar store and cut up for my purpose. The numbers were from a pre-made calendar, which was pretty low in the quality department, but I figured out how to make it all look nice. :)

And here it is! :) I have to say though, sewing 24 little stockings together made my hands ache, but I'm so glad I got it done, I would have regretted not making one this year. Excuse the low lighting of the photos today, I'm still in migraine territory so the curtains are drawn and the lights are very dim still. It's almost gone though, the pain is very low, but my head feels a little "floaty". That usually means I have a few more days to go. I should be better by Monday though. This was a long one!

A few months ago (pre-Pavlov and Stella-sitting), I had the "rich lady" idea to fill each little stocking with a miniature liqueur bottle. I got the idea from browsing on Pinterest when I saw that someone made a countdown calendar out of bottles of wine! Yeesh...talk about rich! :) That would be nice though...one day I'd love to walk into my wine cellar and ponder over which 24 bottles of wine I'll be using for this year's calendar, then which wine I'll be opening for dinner that night...big dreams! Lol...

I haven't bought those mini booze bottles in...25 years maybe? It's been a long time...I remember when they were about $2 a bottle. Now they are upwards of $5 and $6 a bottle! That would be about a $150 countdown calendar...ouch, I think not! But maybe I can buy a few each month in 2018 and do it next Christmas. I just had the romantic notion of Alex and I sharing a nightcap each December night before Christmas! Instead I bought liqueur filled chocolates for $8. So, we can still have our nightcap lol... :)

Dinner time chez moi. The dogs are continuing to come together as a pack. And they are loving the snow. It's so nice to see them playing all together, finally without any scary fighting between the alpha girls! 

What are you all up to this weekend? I have cookies on the brain again. But I will force myself to make less...we still have gingerbread cookies to finish. I have a lot of Christmas spirit though...I'm thinking of more fun things to do to make our house all cozy and festive! :)