Monday, December 31, 2012

2013 - What's it gonna be?

"So how about this: one year. The end of 2013, that's our deadline. Or a year from whenever you read this. While other people are telling you "Let's make a New Year's resolution to lose 15 pounds this year!" I'm going to say let's pledge to do fucking anything -- add any skill, any improvement to your human tool set, and get good enough at it to impress people. Don't ask me what -- hell, pick something at random if you don't know. Take a class in karate, or ballroom dancing, or pottery. Learn to bake. Build a birdhouse. Learn massage. Learn a programming language. Film a porno. Adopt a superhero persona and fight crime. Start a YouTube vlog...
...But the key is, I don't want you to focus on something great that you're going to make happen to you ("I'm going to find a girlfriend, I'm going to make lots of money ..."). I want you to purely focus on giving yourself a skill that would make you ever so slightly more interesting and valuable to other people."

Taken from this fantastic article here

Highly recommend you read it. 

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Post holidays

It's been a mellow past few days. Christmas meals and obligations done. A few neat gifts given and received, not the least of which is a new light switch Dad installed in my basement. Had a nice visit with my Dad. Ate many waffles (new wafflemaker!!!). Sampled local rhubarb raspberry wine and my own blueberry wine (which turned out very nice for a reddish sort of wine- I am pleased). Read the Algebraist by Ian M Banks over a few days of mellow (very good book, if a bit over descriptive). Enjoyed beer and snackery (boxing day supper was  a whole table of horderves...mmm) and there was a lot of slothfulness on my part. In my defense I will say that I did manage to fall down the stairs rather spectacularly while carrying presents at my in-laws house on boxing day. Thankfully I didn't do anything too serious, but I've been taking it easy...other than a bruised butt I seem to have gotten off OK. Stiffness is fading. Good scotch helped.

Unfortunately J has been sick as a dog since boxing day. Today he has a shoot so he is all drugged up and out working out of necessity, but we haven't done much we'd planned since boxing day, as he's just felt too poorly. I seem to be (somehow) still immune, washing my hands religiously and taking Cold FX with the vain hope that it skips me. We shall see. I am hoping he feels much better so we can celebrate new years tomorrow as we've been looking forward to it for some the very least I'd like to crack a bottle of mead and try some (I've heard reports form across the pond that it turned out rather well and I'd like to see so for myself!).

At any rate, hope your holidays were well enjoyed and relaxing. I didn't get to all I'd schemed, due to plague avoidance tactics, but at least I will get out this evening to spend time with an old friend catching up on life, sipping wine and being ridiculous. I'm slowly getting used to the slowing down of life...another day or two before we're back to it all, all adultish and stuff.
Yes, it will do for now :)

Monday, December 24, 2012

One more time...

Am I done with the baking? Oh no. :)
The next 2 days are family filled so I am prepping for what I have to bring to them. Meatbuns, stuffing, lemon tarts and sticky toffee pudding. And a nice salad with pomegranates and hazelnuts and feta...Yum. The kahlua is bottled and it is most delicious indeed. Lots to sip away at and still give away.
I am taking a break after kneading a LOT of bread dough...and making some tea.
Dad's here too. It's lovely.
Soon is christmas.
Soon :)

Merry Christmas to you you and yours :)

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Nuts and Bolts

It's not christmas without mums nuts and bolts. Super easy...and so tasty.
All you need is:
1 large box Cheerios
1 box Chex or shreddies (I prefer Chex)
1 bag pretzels
2 cups nuts ( dry roasted unsalted almonds or peanuts)

Mix those in a big roaster. Melt 1 1/2 c margarine +1/4c oil and stir in 1T of celery salt, onion powder and garlic powder. Add a few shakes of smoked paprika, 2 1/2T worchestire sauce and 10 or more good shakes of tabasco. Mix well. Pour over mix like you would butter on popcorn and stir well to coat all over.
Bake @ 250 for 1 hour, stirring well every 20 min.
Devour while sipping mulled wine and kicking your family's ass at cards :)

Thursday, December 20, 2012

sticky toffee pudding

I'm pumped.
It's my job to bring a christmas dessert on christmas day, so I've decided that this year I'm making scottish style sticky toffee pudding. I've been craving it for a while since we ate our weight in it on holidays this spring...and have found a good recipe. It's simple to make and it will be super easy to make it gluten free so we can all enjoy the toffee yummy deliciousness. There's even a british store here in town where I can get treacle and Lyle's syrup if I want to go all traditional british on the sticky toffee part. We shall see. I have a scottish and british version which are essentially the same except for the caramel sauce part...

Perhaps I'll have to make both and compare.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Reason 58 why the Doctor should pick me as his next companion

I make a mean jammy dodger :)

Yup...I have gotten my need to bake out of my system and eaten my weight in cookie dough. We now have vanillekipfl, peanut butter surprize cookies, jammy dodgers and gingerbread cookies, which will eventually have a lemony creme center and be made into cookie sammiches.


It's a lazy sunday. J and I went out last night dancing and had a blast, and now he has to work all day shooting a video. I have the lazy day to fill and am feeling the need to bake christmas things. After the all important french roast coffee with cream and cinnamon sugar toast I've dug out my recipes, and have my mum's red metal recipe box and I'm hunting up old and new favourites. I want to make...everything...vanilla shortbread fingers (perhaps half dipped in white chocolate...), peppered gingersnaps, peanut butter surprise cookes, maybe some snickerdoodles or vannilakipfl.  I want to try making jammy dodgers for the first time too. I found a recipe for them, so I'm quite curious. The last few years I've sent a whack of baking out to my sister's (she has 4 foster kids so baking lasts 2 seconds there!) but Dad isn't heading out this year, so I'm not sure who will end up with these, but I need to make them.

It's odd...I'm not one for actually eating the baking (altho I will have a few). For me, I love the whole process. A true holiday tradition for me is the baking of the goodies. Mum and I would spend lazy time baking up things and decorating. It's a favourite memory of all holidays past - time with mum in the kitchen. At first I'd watch and learn, and later we'd make things together. As I spent time in restaurants and bakeries we'd trade secrets, and she and I would make our own specialities. And this time of year, perhaps while doing this, is the time when I am both happiest, and miss my mum the most. The first year after she died it was a memorial...a way of honouring her memory in my own way. Thanksgiving was hard...I cooked the big meal for everyone on my own and all I could feel was the absence of her. But it has changed with I remember the taste tests and the stirring and comments. My mum wasn't one for conversation, but when we did things like this together we really connected. I think it is why, even now, when I want to relax nothing is better for it than making artisan breads or baking. I never did become a chef like I thought about...and part of that was to preserve the joy I get from the whole process. the oven will be on, the mixer will be mixing and my mum will be very much on my mind...

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Jingle Jingle.

Stepped out at lunch to buy Dad's gift, the last of the gifts and obligations for the season for us.
Thank frog. I love christmas (the music, nog, lights and spiced rummy part of it) but I maintain that holiday retail makes me want to gouge my eyes out with candy canes, so this cartoon made me laugh my sugarplums off.

Now it's all about the rum and nog and trying to find a decent apple wine recipe to start up over the break for the 3 gallons of fresh apple juice I've happily acquired...

Monday, December 10, 2012

I'm such a sucker for christmas decorations

My robot fetish has expanded to include the christmas tree.
It's looking like christmas around here. Nana's white tree is up.

I've even dragged some stuff in to spruce up my new office...lights too.


Wednesday, December 05, 2012

only wednesday huh?

I was off for two training days...and the world has gone crazy at work.
I've resorted to self bribery. If I'm good and get it all done, there will vino goodness when I get home.


Cunning Plans

 Life is wierd ya know. It seems a lot of things have been hitting me hard lately. Been distant from people, including my partner who is dea...