Sunday, February 24, 2013

New Week . . . New Recipe

As the new year began I promised myself I would go out of my way to find and cook new recipes that would benefit our health and still be yummy.

When we left Canada in November we stopped at Sherwin's sister's house for lunch where she made a stew that was very tasty.  Rose was most kind to share the recipe which I am sharing with you today.

When I first make a recipe I often follow the instructions carefully and then make adjustments another time.  This time I made changes as I went, adding more or less.  I will give you the recipe I received but you do with it what you will.  I am putting my changes in parentheses.

Sweet Potato Stew

1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic
2 T. olive oil
2 cups broth (as the stew has cooked I have actually used 28-29 oz broth)
1 1/2 t. lemon juice
2 cups diced sweet potato (I used yams)
3/4 cup red lentils, washed ( I used a full cup so that explains the need for added moisture)
1/2 cup minced carrots
1 1/2 cups diced tomatoes ( I have used a full 3 cups)
1/4 cup peanut butter
2 T. honey
1 T. curry powder  (you may wish more and/or hotter)
1/8 t. cayenne
1/8 t. ginger
1/4 t. cumin

Combine in the order above and simmer for 1-2 hours...I have added a little water once in a while as 1-2 hours is a long cook time.


Above all, be well!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

An Old Hasidic Poem

Take special care to guard your

tongue before the morning prayer.
Even greeting your fellow, we are told,
can be harmful at that hour.
A person who wakes up in the morning is
like a new creation.

Begin your day with unkind words,

or even trivial matters -
even though you may later turn to prayer -
you have not been true to your Creation.

All of your words each day 

are related to one another.
All of them are rooted
in the first words that you speak.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Thirteen Photos to Mark the Week . . .

This blog is just to give you a brief overview of our first week away from 'home'.

In the month we had been on the island we had one day that was sunny and warm.  Don't get me wrong, it never was Cold but it rained and it drizzled and it pouted most every day.  It didn't help that we were both under the weather... soon as we felt better we headed out for points south!

We wended our way through Active Pass through mists and drips...

...but as I walked around to the front of the ship I saw Light ahead!!!!!  Tah! Dah!

When we landed we were greeted with pleasant sun and light clouds which made our driving through the day to arrive at our Day One Destination in Eastern Washington, much easier.

We were close on the heels of Valentine's Day so enjoyed the benefits of the flowers of the Day.

Day Two was spent in a restful Sabbath mode and as that day ended the view from the back of the house was spectacular...

...but going around to the front of the house I was amazed at the beautiful sky to mark the end of the day from that perspective.

Day Three was spent driving through Oregon, Idaho and well into Utah and the skies were totally spectacular.  The habit of keeping my camera by my side pays great dividends.  And as night fell I looked out of the moon roof and what did I see?

Not particularly glorious but reassuringly there.

On the morning of Day Four we left our motel at -9 degrees C translating to about 15 degrees F.  It was somewhat chilly, not damp chilly though so it was easy to get on the road and head out.  We had our sights on warmer climes.

As you leave Utah on I-15 you drive for a short while through Arizona before you hit Nevada for some miles through Las Vegas and Hoover Dam.  Then you see these signs a second time. Love the graphics.

We saw our first palm trees of this trip as we drove into the north end of Las Vegas.  When we were young and foolish we used to think Las Vegas was a fun place to leave some cash...but of course we were sure we could beat the odds.  Older and greyer won the day so we just drove on through.

When we see these hills we know we are close to Tucson...

...and if you saw my blog yesterday you will know that since we have arrived back we have had 70 degree weather and then a day of driving snow, coming back this morning with sunshine that has made the snow all disappear.

So there went our first week, very quickly, I may add.

We were happy to have a very uneventful trip with dry roads all the way.

Now if you are interested in seeing other blogs who post Thursday Thirteen click here.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Tucson in February

Today we are reminded that it is still winter, even though we enjoyed blue skies, sunshine and temperatures in the low 70's just yesterday.

We have been told for the past few days that a winter storm was brewing out over the Pacific, was going to dump weather all over California and then come visit us here in the south of Arizona.  I didn't think it would amount to much...maybe some rain and chill but snow?!

A short while before lunch I looked out the front door...

...and was amazed to see it actually snowing.  All through lunch snow came down with some vigour.

Odd to see snow pouring down on the red tile roof.

And looking across the way the neighbour's houses look very Canadian...

This is not the first snow of the season.  While we were north they had snow killing many of the plants.  Our little bushes out front are getting some serious character building during their first winter out.

Even our Canadian car appears to be shivering.

Across the street the Arizona landscaping is looking somewhat out of character.

"A lot of people like snow.  
I find it to be an unnecessary freezing of water."
- Carl Reiner

Wishing you sunshine in your hearts even though it may be bleak outside.

Be well.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Good Memories . . . Good Times

A month ago last night, we were invited to the Young house for dinner.  For some time Stanley had been telling us about a special Moroccan dinner he had been wanting to cook for us so we were delighted to be able to accept this invitation.

We arrived and Stanley had the kitchen just humming with good smells and a lot of activity. He even had Lorne stirring for him.  Sharyl played the sous-chef role in the background.

It is always lovely to taste someone else's cooking but this was quite outstanding...

First course was Honey Cinnamon Orange Slices...very nice combination, prepping us for great flavours to come.

It seems I did not take photos of all the dishes but one of the best surprises of the dinner was the Moroccan  Onion Confit with Raisins served along with the Bastila.  The Confit was so tasty...I had never tasted better carmelized onions.  And the Bastila was a chicken dish wrapped in phyllo pastry.  All the spices and flavours were so pleasing.  Yum, yum, yum!

The last dish served was Chermoula on Israeli Cous Cous.  This type of cous cous is much larger than the usual cous cous I have used in the past.  The dish on top had good heat...not too hot, just enough to be very interesting.  Another fun surprise were the hot yellow cherry tomatoes on top of the dish.  So good!

Everything was a major hit!

When dinner was over our host was able to relax with his friends and smile.  Stanley and Sharyl Young were great support to our work in Mexico.  We had never met them until we were introduced to them at the beginning of our project.  They bent over backwards to give us physical and emotional support through all our years there.  Stan and Sharyl are among the most generous people I have ever met.

I do hope you all have friends in your lives that take care of you through thick and thin.

Remember the good times.

And above all, be well.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Just For The Joy Of It . . . Part 2

There is much joy to be gained by admiring and enjoying other people's crafts/talents/handwork.  So on January 11 Gail Booth and I went to a quilt show in Tucson. There were a lot of quilts displayed ...didn't count...and my book on the exhibit is safely tucked away in my home down there, but I will share 13 of the best (according to me) with you today to give you a hint of what we saw.

A great number of quilts came with a definite American patriotic theme... fact there was one pattern that we saw done with different colours at least 3 times in the show.

Rather charming.

Very patriotic!  Almost stand-at-attention patriotic!

Here is another Americana theme pattern.

This next one actually doesn't look as good in the photo as it did face to face.  The yellow colour was so bright, so sunny, it caught my eye.

Even though I may not desire to replicate many of these designs I found myself especially enamoured with the hand quilting on some...the workmanship was great.  I love the scalloped edges on some of the quilts.

The quilts that got the Drama Queen Prize from me were the ones with bright colours and great contrast.

Loved the bee theme in that last one too!

Here is another bright one...

We saw a number of quilts, done very free form, no traditional pattern to them, finished with items you never would have seen on Grandma's old quilts back on the farm.  This next one has actual corn kernels used on the donkey's blanket and in the mouth of the bird.  The donkey hair on his head and back is yarn added to give texture.  Notice the turquoise cactus on the upper right hand side...that is a ceramic brooch.  This is only a small wall hanging but there was care taken to add interest and texture to the project.

Did you see the little kitten peeking out of the century plant on the right?

This next one was delightful...children's out-grown clothes used and then old buttons and what-nots added to give some interest.

And here is a close-up of some of the texture.

If I remember correctly, the next quilt got a prize for colour, layout, workmanship...great colours.  I am only giving you a close-up of one section but you can see for yourself, the work was extraordinary.

This next wall hanging comes to mind even after nearly a month since we were at the show.  It is a small wall hanging but the subject and execution of it gave a message that if you think of it you can quilt it!  The subject is covering the tsunami in Japan...very well done. Notice the city towers of Japan and Mt. Fugi in the background.  The chrysanthemum is weeping in the upper right corner.

Last but definitely not least, I will show you the quilt that stole the show...and again you may not see it because you couldn't put your nose up close to see the details in this work.

Considering that we were at a quilt show in Tucson, it is very understandable that this subject matter would appeal to the judges but there was more to it than that.

If you look carefully at the stitching done on the background you will see the subject matter of the quilt theme over and over there.  On some areas of the quilt you will see a variety of cactus and birds stitched in besides these horses and words.

It was all very nicely done and a joy to see.  Oh, by the way, you may have guessed that my word for this week has been 'Joy'.

Take some time to not only gather in the joy around you but throw some out to the people you meet in your day.

God bless and above all, be well.

There are a number of other people who post Thirteen on Thursdays...if you are interested to see their work click here.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Just For The Joy Of It . . .

There is so much joy in coming home to some blossoms in January/February . . .

. . . this one is on my little Camellia tree that I transplanted in the fall to a new and improved spot in my yard.  And this is my reward.

Yesterday was the first day I actually felt like going out since I fell into this flu thingy!  But we are both on the mend and we will soon take another road trip south.

As I walked around the yard. delighting in the new growth on the roses and the blossoms about to bloom on some bushes I was reminded of all the joy I have received in my gardens here.

Every day, look for a piece of joy around you.  Look to see the small details that are present for the refreshing of our souls!

"No soul that seriously and constantly desires joy will ever miss it.  
Those that seek find.  
For those who knock it is opened."
- C S Lewis

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Football by a Novice . . .

Not really being a fan of football, I usually go around with my ears shut off during most games but this past week, in preparation for Today I listened to sports people, etc. give their views and insights of the game to come.

The one great thing I have come away with...and the game is just the story behind the name for the Baltimore Ravens.

Well, it seems that Mr. Edgar Allan Poe lived for some time in Baltimore and died there is 1845.  We all remember his rather dark poetry from high school English.

One of his most famous poems is The Raven.  Hence, the name of the football team.  I wonder how many of those players actually are familiar with the poem...

I am inviting you to listen to the poem narrated by Christopher Walken.  He gives a good rendition!

Enjoy!  Oh yes, for the fans, have a great day!  Wishing you all well.