Thursday, March 16, 2023

Happy Saint Paddy's Day

Tomorrow is St Paddy's Day, but the only green in my diet will be my tea and the greenhouse Chard I purchased this week, steamed with a splash of vinegar and lashings of melted butter! Life has been pretty slow for me here. I still haven't recovered from the side effects of that medication -- still waking each day with excruciating back and left leg pain as well as tummy ache. But one must soldier on. I still walk daily and stretch. So, fingers crossed!

NL Jam-jams!

Because of this discomfort, going out for IWD on March 8th proved very taxing: I was so glad to spend the next day relaxing at home with my new book. And I was also glad that I brought my dessert home with me to enjoy with a hot cuppa. A tradition in NL, "Jam-jams" are made with strawberry, raspberry or NL partridgeberry jam (lingonberry in Europe) sandwiched between 2 soft, light-molasses cookies. Absolutely delicious.

Last Sunday, I went to lunch with an elementary school friend, Rod, that I hadn't seen in roughly 50 years! Like so many of us in the 60's, I attended a small local elementary school, going from Kindergarten to Grade 8 with the same group of friends. There were about 8 of us that played together after school: lots of tree gardens, as we called them, in which to play cops and robbers: lots of hills and fields in which to play softball ... as long as someone had a ball and someone else found a fence picket. 

Rod's pet collie, Kerry, often joined us. I remember when we were about 9 or 10, Kerry died, and we decided to have a funeral. The boys were pall bearers, the girls mourners, and because I had my Gideons New Testament in my book bag, I was named officiant. We were all very sad about it. I read the 23rd Psalm, the girls were crying, the boys picked up the box containing Kerry and began to walk up the slight incline to the open grave. Suddenly, the bottom of the box gave way, and dear Kerry rolled down the hill! Oops! After some guilty laugher, we carried on in a more sober manner. My neighbourhood landscape was littered with pet graves and little popsicle stick crosses. 

Since last Saturday, I've been following an anti-inflamatory diet to give my body an extra bit of help to heal. I allow myself yogurt & green tea, but bread and coffee are strictly off the menu. Sob sob! And since I moved in December, I've been frequenting our little library and reading once again. "Still Life with Crows" was a great read: good writing and a host of lovely, quirky characters. I was delighted to find that this book is one in the middle of approximately 10 others written around eccentric FBI Special Agent Pendergast. So, now I have read them all.

This week's read is a light mystery. The setting is a beautiful old mansion/hotel in the mountains; an eclectic mix of 13 characters stuck in the middle of a ice storm with no internet connection and the power's been lost. The perfect setting for a murder or two. 

We enjoyed 4 days of sunshine weekend past which thankfully took some of our snow. But true to our usual weather, it will snow tonight and tomorrow. Spring will eventually come; and hopefully, it will bring better health for me.

Namaste y'all! I love seeing your spring posts as they help me hold on. Hahaha!

Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Happy International Women's Day 2023


In spite of the ever on-going war against women and those who identify as female (or male for that matter), we must continue to fight for equality. 

Don't forget to use your voice and your votes!

Happy International Women's Day 2023!

Monday, March 6, 2023

A Break in the Polar Vortex

I'm slowing healing from my sister's recent death. She's the first of 5 siblings to die, so it really makes you realize your own mortality. But people have been so kind, and old friends and schoolmates have come out of the woodwork and bring fond memories to fill some of the emptiness. 

My doctor had recently prescribed some muscle relaxants for my chronic back pain. I hadn't used them, but with the tension and grief last week, I took half tablets for 3 nights in a row. I'm a super-sensitive person when it comes to medications; and sure enough! Come Friday morning, what I thought was a flu bug had manifested into my barely being able to move around my home as well as barely being able to stay awake. After a wee search, I realized it was side effects from the medication so stopped taking it immediately. This morning, 4 days later, I'm almost back to just my normal chronic pain. Hahaha! There is no other alternative but to laugh ..... plus laughing helps relax those painful muscles. 

My middle daughter and I ventured out the weekend before last to Corner Brook's first multi-cultural food fest. We are a small town, but India, Ukraine, Mexico were represented (in my tummy) and several other nationalities that I didn't have room to sample. My favorite treat was this delicious meringue cake with almonds and pistachios and this wonderfully light fluffy filling. 

Besides the good food and music, the Mummers visited! Mummering or Janneying (click on the photo caption for further explanation) is an old Newfoundland/Irish tradition that's usually practiced at Xmas. But here in NL, the Mummers also show up for tourists and, in this instance, for winter carnival. I've never done it, but my older brother used to mummer every Xmas up until a couple of years ago.

In spite of my pain last week, I did get out for my daily walk, even if it was only a bone-chilling 15 minutes in -23 C (-10 F) weather. On one of my early evening walks, the moon was peeping through the clouds in a magical sort-of way. And for two evenings in a row, I also got to see the two planets, Venus and Jupiter, in the night sky. 

This week, the weather has improved: today it's only -3 C (26 F). And every now and then, I can see the sun shining. So, if you'll excuse me, I'll go for my daily walk.

Namaste y'all! 

Stay warm ... and cultivate peace in your life.

Friday, February 24, 2023

Farewell to my BFF

 My baby sister passed away yesterday after complications arising from Covid.  

I knew her for 65 years, but we only really became friends about 20 years ago. And after my move back home 6.5 years ago, we began to make up for all the lost years apart and all the silly things that we would have/should have done when we were younger. We'd have slumber parties at my house where'd we toast each other and dance around the house wearing curtains and flower baskets on our heads. We did soooo many day trips and weekends away where I could rediscover the wonders of Newfoundland and she broke away from her duties as a housewife. She nursed both her MIL and her husband through their cancers, and then she fought and survived cancer herself. She'd never been in the best of health, and once Covid hit her last August, it damaged her heart and lungs so badly that she never recovered. We spoke every day! We both loved each other - warts and all. Out of us 5 siblings, she definitely was the best of us; the one with the biggest heart and the glue that's held our family connection together since our parents died.

I will miss her terribly. But I'm so happy to have been able to make such wonderful memories and for having the privilege of hanging with her. 

Hug your family a little tighter for me tonight okay. Life is short and cruel so we need reserves of love and memory to keep us pliant!

Namaste y'all!

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Just more snow .... and food .... and TV

 Yep! That's my week in review in a nutshell. It snowed every day, and last week, the temperatures were bloody cold, so I usually only got out for a short walk. There was lots of TV viewing: this month's favorite is a British/French program called The Tunnel: there are 3 seasons on CBC Gem (Canada); and the series is really, really good. (I believe The Bridge is an American/Mexican adaptation of the same, at least for Season 1.)

My 19 month old grandson loves to go outdoors in the snow. But he had croup last week, so had to stay indoors. I sat with him one afternoon; he'd take me to the front door, touch it, then touch the sleeve of my hanging coat and say "Goat? Goat?" Then he'd touch the door again! I felt like such a bad grandma having to say no. But I found that his nummy and dinosaur rubber boots helped him settle.  Usually I can divert his attention with food, and that day, he was happy to practice putting his puffs into his bottle, shaking them out, and starting again. (The dogs were happy to help with clean up.) I'm glad he's feeling much better this week.

Now that I'm retired, my income is limited to once a month. I don't bring in much, just my Gov't CPP and OAP. My new rent (including heat) is based on income, thank the gods! But once phone, internet and insurance is taken out, it doesn't allow me much for groceries. I began retirement with the larder and freezer full. But as each month passes, the reserves get lower and lower. Thankfully I've always been a frugal food shopper and can make things stretch. But these days, I must be very clever with using what I have on hand to make tasty meals and treats. 

This week's cooking includes mini meatballs for spaghetti night,  Lentil 'n' Beef Sheppard's Pie and, as usual, a pot of vegetable/lentil soup. Soup is so comforting!  I had picked up a discounted steak that I had for dinner last night: I tenderized it a little, sprinkled with Montreal Steak Spice, let sit for 30 min, then fried with oodles of onions. It was sooo good! The leftover steak was chopped and used in todays Ramen; equally delicious!

For my sweet tooth, I used the rest of the Xmas frozen puff pastry and a half dozen apples that were beginning to spot. I made my version of TikTok's apple custard pie; I didn't have cream, so I used whole milk; and the only difference that made was that my custard wasn't set like a traditional custard. But the taste was wonderful!

Today, I made what was supposed to be a healthy rice crispie treat with Medjule dates, peanut butter and rice crispies. Buttttt .... hating to throw out food, I tossed a couple of months-old healthy nut and raisin bars into the processor with the dates. Added crunch, I thought! I was right on that part, but they're more crumbly than should be. Thank goodness I topped these with some melted dark chocolate! Although it doesn't help that much with keeping the squares together, at least you can take any lonely chocolate tops and smush them into the fallen crumbles. Yummy!

If you have any good frugal recipes or if you know of any other bloggers who have good tips, please feel free to share with me. I do love to cook and eat!

Namaste y'all!

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

Happy Valentine's Day

This is not my bum; mine is
bigger and, hence, I
experience more pain
than this slim bum!
 Ahhhh! The joys of aging. I put my back out last week doing ....... nothing! Woke up, had breakfast and decided to drink my coffee while catching up on emails and blogs. I was sitting for about 45 minutes --- not unusual for me. But when I stood, there was that familiar pain. Ever since I broke my foot falling downstairs about 12 years ago, I've had back problems; my osteopath used to say that perhaps I'd twisted my back and over-stretched muscles? I just know that 4-6 times a year, for little to no reason that I can figure out, my back just seizes up and lands me on the sofa. I saw my doctor, and thankfully, he prescribed muscle relaxants and an x-ray to see if anything is happening back there. A week later, and I'm recovered but cautious. At my age and with my history, everything must happen in slow motion!

I tried to keep limber with stretches and short walks to the mail box. Mostly, I cooked lovely food and watched entirely too much of the boob tube. 

I made these small batch banana muffins with nuts & seeds. Once I'd scooped them into the muffin tins, I realized I'd forgotten the sugar! So, I sprinkled ground almonds on top, baked them, then drizzled them with melted chocolate. They were perfect! No sugar needed!

From @niciwickesfood - This is a healthier
version of a sweet by @joesgaragenz
Yesterday in anticipation of Valentine's Day and the necessity of treating oneself, I made these 'Roadie Slices' from one of my favorite NZ chefs on Instagram. The middle is a combo of dried fruit, seeds, nuts, coconut, choco chips and condensed sweet coconut milk. (I added the melted chocolate on top because it's one of the food groups that I eat daily.) They are so decadent and delicious!

I also made a spicy Moroccan chicken soup with fragrant, warming spices and chickpeas & lentils. And being someone who hates food waste, I turned the remaining unwanted mustard pretzel bites into crumbs and used it to coat some oven-baked chicken thighs last night. OMG! They were so good that I'm thinking of buying a bag of these pretzel bites just for this! 

This weekend, I finally got outdoors in the snow for a wonderful walk through the woods with my daughter and 18 month old grandson. He absolutely loves being outside, and it's wonderful to be with him and watch his delight and awe at the world. 

Today will be a quiet day for me. I'll leave the hearts and flowers to others and content myself with laundry, leftover soup and a Roadie Slice or two.  

Happy Valentine's Day, my friends. I wish you love, good food and the opportunity to view your world with awe and delight.

Saturday, February 4, 2023

Welcome to February!

It's been a relatively quiet, icy cold, snowy kind of week here in western Newfoundland. We are in the middle of a polar vortex apparently! So, other than a 15 minute daily walk around the senior's community, I only ventured outside to get milk and visit the library.  

It's just a wee little library here, but of course, they can bring in titles from other libraries in the province. This week, I picked up a few DVD's: I liked Elvis; Uncharted was neah! But I really liked News of the World with Tom Hanks.

My daughter sent me a German advent tea selection which I've really, really enjoyed; they are not as acidic as some herbal teas I've had, and the flavor combos are wonderful. Sadly though, I took a big chip out of one of my favorite pottery mugs. (I cried .... but was grateful that it was my 50 cent purchase and not the $45 Xmas gift.) 

I ate some good food this week though: Tuesday was breakfast-for-dinner with the crispiest bacon, sweet, delicious molasses baked beans and multi-grain toast with lashings of butter, as the Brits say! Yum!

Also delicious was a new Chicken Pad Thai recipe I tried. It's hard to find some ingredients here in rural NL, but this recipe uses things almost everyone has at hand. It calls for 1/4 cup of ketchup in the sauce, and I found the taste of the ketchup really came through, so I think I'd use less next time. Also, I doubled the amount of peanut butter. It doesn't taste like a true pad thai; but it's a really good substitute and quick and easy. I'll definitely make it again. 

Yesterday, my sweet tooth got the better of me, so I tried these trail mix cookies. De-Lish-Shus! I followed the directions re  dropping tablespoons of dough onto the baking sheets, but they must have BIG tablespoons. My cookies were smaller than their photo; but it also meant that I got 2 doz rather than 1 doz cookies. And that's okay with me. When I baked my second batch, I flattened them slightly, so I got a slightly different cookie, more crisp than chewy. But it was a good recipe.

(So good, that I've had to freeze the remaining for fear of inhaling them and ending up with a bigger tummy ache than I have today. Oops! Oink, oink!)

Happy February everyone! A belated "Rabbit, Rabbit"; and I hope you're staying warm where you are and that you're eating well!


Happy Saint Paddy's Day

Tomorrow is St Paddy's Day, but the only green in my diet will be my tea and the greenhouse Chard I purchased this week, steamed with a ...