Sunday, January 12, 2020

Sunday Food and Pets Post - A Cheesy Week!

Quiet Mountain Night

Hello my Friends! ๐Ÿ˜Š

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!! ๐Ÿ’˜ (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! ๐Ÿ˜Š

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? ๐Ÿ˜Š

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!!! ๐Ÿ˜‹๐Ÿ˜‹๐Ÿ˜‹๐Ÿ˜‹ 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!! ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜Š



I'm also linking up with Paint Party Friday tomorrow! And please join me on Sunday for my food and pets post. ๐Ÿพ๐Ÿพ๐Ÿพ

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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! ๐ŸŽจ

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 5, 2020

Sunday Food and Pets Post - ☃️ Snow Dogs ☃️


Hi Everyone! ๐Ÿ˜Š

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! 

๐Ÿ’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. ๐Ÿ’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! ๐Ÿ˜Š 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 Tourtiรจre. 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!) ๐Ÿ˜‡ 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 grillรฉ" (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! ๐Ÿ˜‹ 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!

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Thursday Art Date: Transformation and Paint Party Friday


Hello Friends! ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜Š

Welcome to Thursday's Art Date, today our theme is Transformation. Did you make any New Year's Resolutions? I never do, it doesn't work for me! Though many times each year I love to transform myself with small changes and new ideas.

For those of you who watched the Looney Tunes as a kid, were you as traumatized as I was when you saw "Hyde and Go Tweet"??? Cute, sweet adorable little Tweety Bird transformed into Mr. Hyde in a great episode! I had some anxiety as I drew this lol!


Here's a screenshot of the original short, poor Sylvester!

Raindrops On My Window (Acrylic, Brush and Palette Knife Painting)

A few days ago, I watched the snow turn to freezing rain then to rain. I thought I'd paint some raindrops in acrylic as part of water's great transformation. I followed my Blogger friend Lissa's advice and scanned my painting rather than photographing it. The result is much more realistic - it looks like my painting! Though my scanner is very tiny and cut the edges off, I may have to get a new one in the future! Thanks for the advice Lissa!


All of that rain transformed into snow on New Year's Eve! It's beautiful!


I started art school! I'm so excited. I'm taking a variety of courses and lessons, all about drawing, painting, and the fundamentals of art. My first course is Drawing 101. I even have homework and my instructor does critiques! Until now, I've pretty much been self-taught so I'm starting from the beginning. I'm so excited about this. I want to transform myself into a better artist! ๐Ÿ˜ŠAre you planning to learn something new this year?


Gratitude: online education


The year is 2020. A new decade! Isn't that something?? With this new decade, we have a clean slate, a new door to open, new beginnings...Now is the time to start fresh! ๐Ÿ˜Š 

So that's all for now folks! But please check out the link widget below to see more Transformation artwork! And please join me on Sunday for my food and pets post. ๐Ÿพ๐Ÿพ


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

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My Three Snow Creatures

January 9th: Next Thursday's theme is Snow Creatures. 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! ๐ŸŽจ

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, December 29, 2019

Sunday Food and Pets Post - Sandwich Buffet

Christmas Eve Sandwich Buffet

Hello Friends!

Well, Christmas is over for another year, sigh. New Year's is right around the corner, do you have anything special planned? Alex and I will stay in and (hopefully) stay awake to ring in the new calendar year!  We'll be eating our traditional Raclette dinner.

It has been a tradition for me to make tourtiรจre every New Year's Day. Tourtiรจre is a Quebec dish, a meat pie. Since Alex is now vegetarian, I'm going to attempt a veggie tourtiรจre. I don't dare whisper that out loud in these here parts though - a veggie tourtiรจre? That would be treason.๐Ÿ˜‰ I'll let you know the results next Sunday! And on January 2nd, we celebrate the Pagan Twelfth Night of Yule, we'll be celebrating with some apple wassail, and likely lots of leftovers!

For Christmas Eve, I made a sandwich buffet. It was a great success, but my gosh lots of prep work - you wouldn't think so for sandwiches! I made an assortment of egg salad, chicken salad (for me), CLT's (C for Cheddar) and an assortment of tomato sandwiches with my Homemade Goat Cheese. I also made Pinwheels!


Is this a familiar sandwich for you? I know there are lots of recipes for tortilla pinwheels...but I remember Sunday afternoons at my grandparents home, snacking on pinwheels made with bread. I LOVE this sandwich! I made one with cream cheese and cherries; and the other with Homemade Cheese Whiz and gherkin pickles.


Yes! I made Cheez Whiz! It actually turned out pretty well! I'd say the texture was perfect and the taste was VERY similar to Cheez Whiz. Mine isn't orange because I don't by orange cheese or use colouring to make my Cheddars.


I promised in my last post to include the recipe for my Homemade Crescents - they are delicious!


We have so much cheese in the fridge, with more to come! My Colby is ready to taste but we haven't found time to make a video yet, so that should be coming up in the next few weeks on Rainy Day Cheese Making.

One night we brought out all of the cheeses, plus a Brie I had bought and we had a lovely cheese plate.


I had planned an elaborate pasta buffet for Christmas dinner...4 sauces, 4 pastas, bread sticks, garlic bread...but honestly? We had so many leftovers that we only had our Christmas dinner on the 27th!! And I scaled it down to pasta with Four Cheese Sauce.


Of course I had to make Garlic Bread to go with it!


I tried a Tiramisu-Style Dessert - a recipe I found on Taste of Home's site. It was just okay. Nothing like a real tiramisu! I'll include the original recipe here, but I don't think I'll make it again. Tiramisu is traditionally made with Mascarpone cheese, this recipe called for cream cheese and it didn't work very well, too heavy on the cream cheese filling.


We had some Brandy Alexanders to go with all of the sweets!


More pasta last night, Spinach Ricotta Lasagna Roll-Ups. Quick and easy!


Charlie and Jack - the black and whites. Looks like a meeting of the minds.


Christmas morning...Oscar hiding in the box - can you guess what happens next?


When I met Alex, he already had his two cats, Dana and Leo. In 2015 we adopted these four from July to September that year - we had to stop visiting the shelter because we just couldn't leave without saving an abandoned pet!! I dub them "The Four Rescues" - they are ALWAYS together. Very cute though I do think they're up to something (except Oscar who is out like a light)!


I have some amazing plans for 2020 including finding, visiting, buying and moving to a new house; starting an online art course; planning some business ideas for the future and much much more!!

Do you have plans or do you make resolutions? Please share!!! And if you have some time, please join me for Thursday's Art Date, the theme is Transformation!