Friday, March 30, 2012

Fickle Spring

 We had a mini-hailstorm yesterday. It only lasted about 5 minutes.

The poor little winter aconite looked a little chilly in their white bed. Thankfully, everything melted about 10 minutes later.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Ballou and His Dinner

This retro ad looks so much like our first cat Ballou and his favourite food Puss 'n' Boots.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Nutella Rice Krispy Squares

I was looking around at Pinterest and noticed this recipe and thought, "Hey, I have most of those ingredients, in varying amounts." The recipe is from the blog "chef-in-training" (click here for her link). Her squares came out much better than mine did -- and she even iced hers. But this will give you an idea of what mine looked like and yes, they were yummy!!

5 to 6 cups of Rice Krispies cereal (I had about 5 or so)
1 (10.5 oz) bag of mini marshmallows (mine had some taken out for cocoa!)
1/4 cup butter
1 heaping cup of Nutella spread -- (I had half a small jar left; the other half went into some butter cream icing!!)

Melt butter and marshmallows together over medium heat until melted and smooth. 

Once the marshmallows and butter have melted, add the Nutella and stir until well combined.

Pour chocolate mixture over the Rice Krispies. Stir to coat (this is where I figured I needed MORE melty stuff and less dry stuff because it didn't completely cover the cereal).

Press into a greased 9" x 13" pan. Refrigerate until set and YUM! I took these to work and they were gobbled up quickly. Pretty delicious. My mother used to make Rice Krispy squares for us when we were little and she always added a square of unsweetened chocolate to cut the sweetness. These reminded me of those but much sweeter.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Shaggy, the Working Dog

I went to my local video store the other day and I felt a pair of eyes watching me. Sure enough...

...sitting under the electric "Now Playing" sign is Shaggy, the video store dog. He's part Shih Tzu and part beagle.

He's very sweet and always anxious to welcome new customers.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Life in the Country

Seen at my friend Bonnie's house on her windowsill.  Kind of what life is like here in Dunvegan, out in the middle of nowhere.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Discoveries Under the Snow

Every year my tiny clump of winter aconite gets a little larger. At this time of year, it's about one of the only things in bloom and in high demand from pollinators.

This clump of last year's high bush cranberries was discovered once the snow receded. Looks like it was collected in one big jumble, waiting for a snack attack. Most years the fruit stays hanging in the bushes. This year, it was gathered but I guess it wasn't found too palatable.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Peek-a-Boo Cat

 I love this photo of Bix and Greg.

But I also love this photo of Bix and Greg. Hard to choose, eh?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Winter Picnics in the Woods

Our annual winter picnic in the woods at the old picnic table took place last Sunday on March 18 and the temperature was a balmy 26C. First time I wore a t-shirt at our picnic.

 Last year's picnic was held on January 19, 2011 when it was a "balmy" -15C. The snow and temperature did not deter us! I think we ate our sandwiches kind of quickly though.

The year before that, March 8, 2010 and we were out in the woods making poutine. That picnic was fairly toasty at 10C. And yummy too as I recall.

Into the woods on February 18, 2009 was when we had our first ever winter picnic. Minus 5C and a hot brunch en plein air. What could be bad?

This year another first! A bottle of cold wine! Isn't that what you do in the heat of summer? Except of course for the fact it was winter. A butterfly landed on our picnic table for a brief bit and looked around.

We enjoyed cheese, smoked oysters, olives, hot bread, and wine. Almost sounds like we were in France. Dejeuner sur l'herbe anyone?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Happy Spring!

With temperatures at 26C this weekend (and forecast for all week too), it felt more like summer than spring. Richard and I headed down to Canadian Tire to pick out pea seeds.

My late mother always said that peas could be planted as soon as the ground was workable -- or even before that. She said, "You can even throw the seeds onto the snow." Well, the ground was muddy in my garden. Parts seemed frozen underground but those seeds went in -- March 18th when it was still technically winter! Watch this space for pea sprout updates. And yes, that is snow on the field behind me.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Happy St. Paddy's Day

Having been invited to dinner on St. Patrick's Day last Saturday and offering to bring dessert, I sort of thought, what the heck am I going to do? I couldn't bear to do a leprechaun or shamrock, so decided to do something green!

It's a lemon cake with a green marble swirl, lemon curd filling, butter cream outside covered in white and green chocolate shards. Hope you had a happy St. Paddy's Day!

My friend Evlyn -- who has a fun blog -- was at the St. Paddy's supper and snapped this shot of me and the cake. Click here to get a look at her blog.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Just Goofin' Around

Looks like Richard and Oreo are just goofin' around, eh? Not sure which one is sillier!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

It's Maple Time

With all the warm weather lately, we're going to have a short maple syrup season this year. Ideally, it's supposed to be -5C at night and 5C during the day. This week we're in the double digits and no freezing at night.

This year my friends Peggi and Bill bought all the materials to tap their sugar bush and yesterday was their second boil of sap.

Peggi is careful that the syrup's temperature reaches 219F and then it's ready. Too soon and it's too runny and not sugary enough. Too late and it solidifies into candy.

It's time consuming and lots of time spent skimming, level checking and stoking the fire...

...and waiting for the syrup to be ready.

 But when it reaches that critical temperature, look out!

I got to be an official taste tester! Nothing like maple syrup, fresh from the evaporator.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Simply Biscotti

In Ottawa last weekend, Richard and I were in Little Italy and noticed this little bakery.

Richard noticed this sign beside the door and thought it was cute. I love biscotti so figured why not? Let's check it out.

I just about passed out when we got in there. The display case was one of the most fabulous I had ever seen!

Yes, they had biscotti. The place was called Simply Biscotti after all. But, it was so much more.

In that showcase were delectable cannoli...

 ...lemon meringue tarts that looked like an artist made them..

 Almond and pear tarts...

 Coronets filled with vanilla and chocolate cream...

 Fruit tarts galore...

 These ones had fruit sitting in chocolate tarts!

These are covered with almond. What are they? I can't even remember, at this point. I was pretty weak in the knees by then.

 These lobster tails looked too good to be true. Look at those many perfect layers.

These were red velvet and chocolate with cream cheese frosting. By then Richard had passed me the smelling salts and I was coming back to my these I remember.

The workers were buzzing around making coffee. The place smelled simply wonderful. We were lucky to be there early before the crowds so I could take some good photos.

And to top it all off, one wall featured a huge selection of imported Easter chocolates. Be still my heart.

We each chose a pastry to take home. I wanted the almond pear tart; Richard chose the lemon meringue. We also bought 4 biscotti.

When we got home, we decided to split them so we got a taste of each. Pure heaven.
And the biscotti? Perfection!

If you're in Ottawa, make sure to visit Simply Biscotti. It's simply divine!
354 Preston Street, OttawaON  613-234-5336


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