Sunday, February 28, 2010

Go Canada Go!

Canada plays U.S.A. in men's hockey at one of the last events of the winter Olympics today in Vancouver. Here's Tim Horton's version of patriotism. Go Canada Go!
P.S. Canada just won! Wow! What a hockey game. And...count how many little, red maple leaves there are on the donut. FOURTEEN (don't count the half, little broken speck there). That's EXACTLY how many gold medals we won. Fate, I swear...

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Olympic Fever

The Olympics are over tomorrow and I'm really going to miss them. I watched hours of curling (?), skiing, speed-skating and, of course, hockey. Tomorrow is the gold medal round in men's hockey (Canada vs. USA) and then the closing ceremonies. I wonder what Canadian talent they'll feature? Celine Dion? Michael Bublé? Nickelback? Hmm.

Here's a photo of me and my friend Roberta when the summer Olympics were in Montréal in 1976. We attended every event we could get tickets for (sometimes standing room) and generally had the most amazing time just walking around the streets and people watching.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Hot Off the Press!

The spring issue of ATC Quarterly has been printed and mailed. Coming to a mailbox near you pretty soon. Don't you just love this cover by ATC artist Lynne Larkin of Joliet, IL?

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Canada vs. American Speak

Thought this was kinda fun. Can you think of any that were missed?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Best TV Hockey Ads

This ad reminds me of growing up playing street hockey with my cousin Richard. I was usually the goaltender mainly because I had my own Sherwood goalie stick and was just crazy about Montreal Canadiens' goaltender Ken Dryden.
Saturday night was always Hockey Night in Canada at our house with my family gathered around the TV set, cheering on our beloved Canadiens.

This Tim Horton ad is from a few years back. I think it's so well done.

Another terrific Tim Horton's ad narrated by the great player Sidney Crosby. I think it kind of sums up what hockey means to many Canadians.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Wedding Cake 101

Instead of posting a finished cake, I thought I'd try photographing the process. I see from these photos that I should have taken a few more as I was doing it, but I was so in the moment that I forgot. At any rate, here is what a wedding cake looks like at the start. This is a 10-inch cake that is actually one and a half cakes iced together to make 3 layers.

Then you ice the outside of it.

The top of the wedding cake was an 8-inch round cake, cut into three layers and iced.

Before placing the smaller cake onto the bottom cake, I inserted 8 lollipop sticks into the bottom cake to support the weight of the top cake.

Shells were piped around the edges of the cakes. I also placed the bride and groom to see how much room there'd be for roses...and generally how the cake was going to look.

I had piped red roses out of buttercream. These were to match the bride's red dress -- and apparently they matched perfectly! I froze them to make them easy to handle, and then placed them around the perimeter of the cake.

I piped some small, green leaves around the roses and voilà! The cake is done.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Birthdays in Toronto

Richard and I headed west to Toronto for the weekend to celebrate friends' birthdays. We were on Yonge Street just as the sun was setting.

The party was held at a lovely little place called Starfish.

We started with a platter of three different kinds of oysters: 2 from the east coast and the other from the west.

We all liked the ones called Raspberry Point from P.E.I. so much that we ordered another platter of these.

For appetizers some folks had fish cakes and fried calamari salad. Here is another starter that was roasted sardines.

Jill had mussels in a lovely sauce that tasted somewhat of fennel...

...and they came with yummy, crispy frites.

Richard and I ordered the roasted halibut for two. Really tasty.

The meal ended with key lime pie from Dufflet's Pastries.

Birthday girls Patty and Wendy blowing out their birthday pie.

Here are my friends Wendy and Judah, both of whom I've known since high school.

Jill and me with the birthday girls Wendy and Patty. I can't remember when I've laughed so much. Isn't that the best way to spend an evening? Laughing and eating good food with good friends.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Friday, February 19, 2010

Report from the Woods

With a three week thaw in January and almost no snow since, it's been a very easy winter so far. But there still isn't much in the way of food for bunnies so they've been eating the green cambium layer of bark on the trees I laid out for them.

Meanwhile Richard was busy cutting down some dead and dying trees. These we took out along the so-called "river" my parents named "The Mighty Mogelon." While it was frozen, it was easy to skid out the trees.

Our small collection of large wood that will need splitting this spring.

And news not exactly from the bush. My driveway is showing signs of spring. This is usually what it looks like at the beginning of April. Everyone is saying, "We're really going to get it in March." Hmmm. Even if we do, the days are longer now and the sun stronger. I say, bring it on Mother Nature!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Kashi Cereal Taste Test

About a month ago I saw an ad on TV to taste test Kashi cereal so I got online and signed up. Yesterday, I got this neat little box in the mail. Inside it was a box of Kashi cereal.

So I got ready to try it out.

Looks like a good breakfast, eh?

The cereal smelled and tasted like real berries. It was very crunchy too. Not recommended for those who might like quiet mornings (it's loud in your mouth!) but it's really tasty. Two thumbs up.

I gave the bottom of the bowl to Nutmeg. She gave it a two paws-up, although I think her vote was skewed a bit because she's such a milk junkie.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Victorian Window

I did this drawing a few years ago. Now if I could just get inspired to get drawing again. It's funny how it's so easy to fall off the creativity wagon but how difficult it is to climb back onto it again.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Perfect Valentine's Day

On Sunday, Richard and I headed to Cornwall to see the Seaway Valley Theatre Company perform Fiddler on the Roof.

It's a show with a huge cast and lots of wonderful musical numbers. How would they do it?

They did a really good job. The sets were simple but perfect. The casting was pretty darn good.

But definitely, the star of the show was Jean Guy Quesnel. He was absolutely convincing as the lead character Tevye. He was a joy to watch.

We went for an après théâtre snack at the Fifth Wheel down the road...

...where we had a cuppa joe and shared a poutine. A perfect Valentine's Day I'd say!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Junkanoo Valentine

While in the Bahamas last November, Richard and I found out about "Junkanoo." The word is derived from John Canoe, a 17th century slave master. Slaves were not allowed much freedom but when they could they'd hide in the bushes make music, dance and cover themselves in bright cosutmes. In Nassau, there is a Junkanoo Festival, on Boxing Day and New Year's Day. Here I am in Junaknoo gear.

And here's my valentine for Richard this year. Happy Junkanoo Valentine!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Trompe d'Oeil

Check it out. I was driving home the other day and man, doesn't it look like there's a truck coming right at me?

Kinda freaked me out. In actual fact, it was being towed to Herb's Service Centre and going the same direction as I was.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood

Unlike many of the places on the east coast of North America that have had major snowstorms, around here it's been unusually snowstorm-free and temperate around 0C (32F). I went into the woods to see if there was any bunny action. Check out the size of the snowshoe hare's back feet. As long as my own hand!

My bunny drive-in has been seeing lots of action. You can see two beds (melted oval shapes where the bunnies bedded down), lots of green still left for them to munch on and even a toilet to the left of their bedrooms.

Here's more bunny action. They've been digging around the base of the trees and pulling out pine cones to chow on.

Meanwhile the frozen stream has become a critter highway -- I guess it's pretty easy to get around on.

Richard and I went sliding on the rest of the river. What fun.

Only five more weeks till spring.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Judy's Cornmeal Cookies

I had a visit with my friend Judy the other day and she gave me a container filled with these fantastic cookies. She shared the recipe with me and told me that it was originally Martha Stewart's recipe. For me, they'll always be known as Judy's cornmeal cookies.

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup stone-ground yellow cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 large eggs
3/4 cup dried currants (Judy omits these)
1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, with racks in upper and lower thirds. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside. Whisk together flour, baking soda, cornmeal, and salt in a medium bowl.
2. Put butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; cream on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Mix in eggs, 1 at a time. Add flour mixture; mix on low speed until just combined. Mix in currants and thyme.
3. Using a tablespoon or a 1 1/2-inch ice-cream scoop, drop rounded balls of dough onto lined sheets, spacing them 2 inches apart. Bake, rotating and switching positions of sheets about halfway through, until pale golden, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer cookies, on parchment, to a wire rack. Let cool completely. Makes about 3 dozen.


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