Day 19: Winners!

I was busy today again and did begin baking. Not Selma’s goodies yet, but I did get two batches of shortbread made.

The first was a fairly common recipe that I made especially  for cousin S, as she is on her last week of work before retiring and is tired.

IMG_5751 These were the ones with white flour, granulated sugar and butter, plus a bit of vanilla. Very good, indeed! As you can see, that recipe made four dozen, although there are a few less now. 🙂

And then I made the Scottish oat flour ones I shared the recipe for recently. But I doubled the oat flour and halved the rice flour. They are also very good, delicious, in fact, but the oat flour has made them a bit too textured for us. So I shall ‘have’ to make another batch and go back to the recipe and follow instructions. How hard can that be?

 

But I know what you really want to hear: who has won a small ornament? Well, that was easy, as it turned out . . . only five people left comments, so each of you is a Winner! But we knew that already . . .

And the winners are:

Marlene of “In Search of it All” I’ve been reading Marlene’s posts for several years now, and have learned much from her, especially when it comes to facing the challenges of life. Her positive attitude inspires me every time I visit. Marlene’s interest in books and stitching are only some of the things that make me feel connected to her.

Jessie of “Twinny Acres” and “Rabid Little Hippy” Jessie’s been too busy to post for some time now, but her past posts are well worth reading. I connected with Jessie years ago, too, and am grateful for my introduction to permaculture via her posts. She led me on to other blogs where I continue to learn about this and more. Jessie crochets, too, and has learned to do things I dream of learning, like making cheese and soap and all that.

Jan of “The Snail of Happiness” Jan is another inspiring writer and makes me think about the impact of some of my choices. I have been thinking about choices and consequences for decades now, but there is always more to think about and new choices to be made. I was doubly delighted to see her name come up, as I earlier won a prize from her! Soup, Socks and Baking are a few of the things we have in common.  Also, Jan’s Thankful on Thursday posts have inspired me at times to write my own.

Selma from “Eclectic Home & Life” I have been following Selma for years, too. A few years ago, 2014, I think it was, she held a series of crochet classes in her home and invited anyone online who wished to join in. I was the only online participant and it was so much fun (except tat I never once got to taste any of her delightful Norwegian treats. Selma made one of these for each week’s participants. We have Norwegian backgrounds in common (Selma is from Norway, but lives in England), also crochet,  knits, loves traditions, baking and more.

and last, but not least,

Jon of “Writing House” I connected with Jon’s blog years ago, too; then, as my life became more complex, I stopped visiting many of the blogs i was following and his was one of those. Not a conscious choice, by any means. Jon has a knack for wordplay that I enjoy very much. He is an author, but I have yet to read any of his works. One day, when I am reading print books again.

 

Runners-Up:

There were two people who ‘liked’ my post but did not leave a comment. So I have decided to make them a wee something, too. They are:

Sue Dreamwalker from “Dreamwalker’s Sanctuary“, “A Dreamwalker’s Thoughts”  and “Dreamwalker’s Garden” I have followed Sue for years, too, although sometimes I have forgotten to get over and read her posts. I especially like the Sanctuary posts and feel that I have much in common with Sue. Her latest post on a holiday to Oban with her husband really resonated with me.

and

Ina Vucik of “Croatia, the War and the Future” Ina has been an activist for some years now. I have known people who had to leave Croatia because of the war and the poor economy. Ina’s blog is very informative, if you have an interest in that area of the world, its history and its future.

I have email addresses for all of you lovely readers except for Jon and Sue, so if you could drop me a line at maelinne (at) hotmail (dot) com, I’ll have a few questions for you. You may put “Winner” in the subject line; it will help me to find them in the midst of all the daily mail.

As to the rest of you, I’ll be sending an email either tomorrow or the next day. Now, I DO know it’s nearly Christmas, so there is no rush on responding. I do understand.

Your gifts will be created after Christmas and I will post when I mail them, as well as emailing each of you. I’m quite excited about doing this, more than I expected, but I am wondering why I chose a time so close to Christmas . . . oh, right, it was the 500th post!

Thanks to everyone for leaving a comment; I so appreciate your taking part.!

I am re-posting a photo of the pocket scarf, as Jill from “Nice Piece of Work” has said she isn’t getting them where she lives. That may be due to them being a larger pixel size or whatever you call it . . .

On the right is the front, showing how I am working in the new colour; on the left is the back, with an extra skein of yarn stuffed in the opening so you can see the pocket. The bottoms have yet to be finished, as I’ve decided to do a few rows of the new colour and then stitch them closed. I do envy people who live lives of simplicity <sigh>  🙂

All right, music . . .

Christmas in Vienna 1999 by The Three Tenors

Duelling Banjos with Joe Brown and Richard Collins

and a little-known Canadian group, Shanneyganock, from St. John’s, Newfoundland, singing “Grey Foggy Day

Wishing you sunshine and harmony today. Love ~ Linne

 

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Day 18: Musing about Mishaps on Monday

This is Sunday the 17th and at midnight I shall close commenting on the Day 5 post. Tomorrow I will put names of all commenters in a festive container and pull five. Those lucky people will receive a small ornament (not necessarily a Christmas ornament, I know some of you don’t celebrate Christmas. I’ll be contacting the winners and you may specify then. So DO go and leave me your name, will you? It doesn’t matter to me if you are a long-time follower or someone new who just happened upon this space.  ‘Everyone is welcome to participate.

Musing is a good work, I think. I did think of others first, but they weren’t alliterative enough. Good thing, too. 🙂 ‘Moody’ might have been a tad closer to the mark.  I’ll get to that . . .

Today the cousins made stew for the next five days’ suppers in the crockpot. It smells as good as it looks. I was not involved this time and there were no mishaps.

But I made the dessert for tonight and tomorrow: Selma’s Mocha Roulade.. Back in 2015, Selma was holding crochet  lasses at her home and online followers were invited to join in, which I did.  She was teaching new stitches every week and often shared photos of the participants; work on her blog and on facebook. My red striped ripple cushion is shown on this page and three down is a corner of one of my blankets. It was such fun! And every week Selma baked a special treat for everyone to have with their tea or coffee. It was the only feature I had to miss out on . . .  😦

My Red ripple cushion

Sometimes ‘winging it’ works out quite well . . .

The recipe for the Mocha Roulade is what I linked to above, though. And this is how it went today . . . this is a recipe that I follow pretty closely, in spite of my tendency to follow wild flights of fancy when in the kitchen. I separated the eggs, but partway through realized I had dumped the yolks in with the whites due to being distracted by my thoughts. Arrgghhhh  I took one of the eggshell halves and attempted to fish them out, breaking one in the process. As I’m sure you know, egg white will not whip in the presence of any fat and egg yolks are fatty. In the end, I put the egg whites into a container to use in my baking this week and began again with four more eggs. (two of the yolks had made it into the proper dish).  And then I got out the stick blender and began whipping them. Part of them whipped, but the rest did not. I’m not sure why. I even added a pinch of salt and 1/8 tsp of cream of tartar as both are helpful when whipping egg whites. Finally Cousin  S came to see how it was going, took pity on me and whipped them up in the KitchenAid bowl. I don’t like using other people’s expensive machines, so tend to do things as I always have, by hand.

Then I cut the parchment to go in the pan. But this was a glass pan with sloping sides, so the parchment wouldn’t stay put. I took it out creased it, tore it a bit, got another piece and finally had something that would sort of work.

IMG_5732After I removed the baked sponge from the oven, I did manage to turn it out onto the fresh parchment without mishap. Just . . . I managed to roll it, but it was on the thick side, as the pan was a bit too narrow for this. It makes me miss my own tools and supplies so much . . . And having my own kitchen, with things where I can find them easily.

 

IMG_5733

As seen from one end

 

So, once it was cool and I unrolled it, it looked like the photo above.  But I persevered. I’m nothing if not stubborn . . . or should I say ‘single-minded’?

 

 

 

IMG_5734 Cousin S kindly used the KitchenAid to whip the cream, too, and that went well. I spread most of it on the sponge.

Doesn’t that look tempting? And can you see the potential problem? Yes, it’s just too narrow to roll up again. But I went forward bravely and added the halved grapes; I’d cut enough for the size I usually make . . .

IMG_5735

Well, I forgot to photograph the Roulade in its finished state, I guess. So half of it is already gone somewhere in this picture . . .  I’d held back some of the whipped cream and some of the grapes, as I’d planned to decorate the top of my ‘log’ once it was rolled up. But we added those to our servings and enjoyed them anyway.  The good thing about this sort of kitchen mishap is that it’s all edible, in the end.

The Roulade was pronounced a definite success and cousin S, who is not partial to grapes, had a second helping, which I think is a great compliment.

This is much like a Jelly Roll, but has no flour in it, so it is perfect for people who hae Celiac disease or are simply gluten-intolerant. It is very light, so a perfect complement to a filling winter meal. I hope you try it; if so, do let Selma know how you liked it.

I will be baking some of Selma’s Christmas cookies/biscuits this coming week and will share my experiences with you. And I need to get a move on with the making of gifts. I bought three stockings at the dollar store yesterday (Saturday) and have been planning what to do with them. They don’t need decorating, just filling.

christmas popcorn cranberry strings I have some cranberries, too, so I need to pop some popcorn and get out a needle and thread, to . . .  This photo is from the internet, and it shows cranberry strings exactly like the ones I used to make. I don’t know if we will use them indoors or put them outside for the birds’ Christmas feast. I’ve always liked how these look; the handmade thing is definitely ‘me’!

I shall be posting some news on New Year’s Day, my friends, so watch for that. I still can’t believe that a week from Monday will be 2018!

Are you making resolutions? I am . . .  I like making them and I don’t beat myself up if I don’t achieve them. I always manage to master at least a few and I do find that setting goals moves me a step or two closer to the realization.

Well, this is good . . . it’s only 10.30 on Sunday night and all I have to do is find some music to share. I think I’m going to go with classic carols from here to Christmas Eve. And something else for those of you who have different celebrations at mid-winter.

Here are three hours of Christmas carols, all instrumentals, so you can start it playing and then go on with your last-minute making, baking, wrapping, or  . . .

Tears are Not Enough by Northern Lights, a super-group formed of many of Canada’s top performers. The lyrics are”

As every day goes by
How can we close our eyes
Until we open up our hearts

We can learn to share
And show how much we care
Right from the moment that we start

Seems like overnight
We see the world in a different light
Somehow our innocence is lost

How can we look away
‘Cause every single day
We’ve got to help at any cost

We can bridge the distance
Only we can make the difference
Don’t ya know that tears are not enough

If we can pull together
We could change the world forever
Heaven knows that tears are not enough

It’s up to me and you
To make the dream come true
It’s time to take our message everywhere

C’est l’amour qui nous rassemble
D’ici a l’autre bout du monde
Let’s show them Canada still cares
You know that we’ll be there

If we should try together you and I
Maybe we could understand the reasons why
If we take a stand every woman, child and man
We can make it work for God’s sake lend a hand

Mu favourite garage band ever: The Travelling Wilburys. singing End of the Line

“Well, it’s all right, even if you’re old and gray,

Well, it’s all right, you’ve still got something to say . . .”  and so we do . . .

travelling wilburys 01 Bob Dylan, Jeff Lynne, Tom Petty, Roy Orbison, George Harrison. I wish they had had time to create more than two albums (they made Volume One and Volume Three;  there was no Volume Two; it was a sort of in joke and it makes me laugh.)

Have a lovely day today, my friends; I wish you Sunlight and Serenity.  ~ Linne

 

Day 17: Shopping on Saturday, Sharing on Sunday

A last reminder: remember to add a comment on the Day 5 post so your name will go into the hat. You have until midnight tomorrow (my time; PST)

Today was pretty busy; the cousins and I went to Vernon for a few things, including my baking supplies. We had lunch at the Red Robin, as we often do. They have a great loyalty programme and even better food. The best fish and chips I’ve ever had, and I’m from the coast!  But I don’t order that very often; I like my veggies too much. Today I had the “Avo-Cobb-O Salad”; just what it sounds like – a Cobb salad with avocado chunks. I should have taken a photo. It has plenty of salad for the base; a mixed garden salad, I guess  you’d call it. Then there is a hard-boiled egg, half a tomato, chopped, bacon, half a chicken breast broiled perfectly, half an avocado, and a very generous portion of crumbled bleu cheese. I t think that’s it, but there may have been more. I had a side of those wonderful fries, too. There was a sale on, a buy one, get one half off, but at the end, the server gave us half off on both the burgers, so it was a very good deal. We older people like our good deals! And he got a good tip in return. Servers like their tips!

IMG_5553

Spooky napping atop a high bookshelf

Then we went to a store I am not fond off, but the prices are good. The Great Canadian Super-Store. In a way they are good; there is a large variety of goods, for one thing, but the store is just too large and it’s hard to find things unless you shop there regularly. There is a sheet of paper in a plastic sleeve at the end of each long aisle, listing the things to be found in that aisle, but the print is too small for me to read. Luckily, the cousins helped me find what I needed. One good thing: in the Asian section we found a large package of cardamom for about half the price of a small bottle of the spice. I am planning to begin Christmas baking tomorrow, using some of cousin S’ recipes, some of my own and some of Selma’s. That link will take you to all her recipes that use cardamom; I am considering the cardamom cake with coffee drizzle, but it’s a rather large item for just the three of us (when I’ll be baking cookies and all  that); perhaps I will leave that for when we have company or go visiting. The chocolate and cardamom cookies (farther down the page), on the other hand, are calling my name . . .

IMG_5724There

 

was a very small selection of cookie cutters, too, but I did buy four. You will see two hearts in there; that is so I can use one for baking and one for crafts. The teddy bear is not Christmas y to me, but I have an idea.

IMG_5723 This set of three I chose because I do like to have a Santa shape. The reindeer I’ve never seen before, at least not as only a head. And the one in the middle is definitely not a candy cane. I think it might be a gift with a bow on top.

IMG_5725And I did want a star, but this was the only one available:   I can’t imagine using it so much taht I will need the cushioned edge.  To me, this is a good example of useless waste. More plastic and all that. But I did want a star . . .

Now, I do have a lovely collection of old cookie cutters, one set stored in the metal container used by the friend I inherited them from. But, as with everything else, they are ‘somewhere in the storage’ and not accessible.

i an’t tell you how much I look forward to the day when I unpack all my things, discard what I no longer need and finally get to enjoy the rest.

In the meantime, I simply buy replacements and try not to think about it too much. I may get to share these with someone else once I have my own again.

IMG_5726 Our next stop was a dollar store where I hoped to find some hair gel. Nope, nothing. But I did find a bath brush, some red buttons  and these:

I can use these for biscuits, which was my first thought. And I mean savoury biscuits, not English biscuits or cookies. But they will also be handy for cookies. I plan to make the traditional sugar cookies and some I will cut into round shapes, sprinkling  them with sugar on top and pushing a single raisin into the centre. I tend to cut donw on sugar except at Christmas, and usually would not add it on top, but in this case I will be doing it to honour my great-grandmother whom I never knew. My Mum and all her siblings remembered those cookies well and I want to revive the tradition. Great-Grandma made them on a regular basis and because raisins were expensive, I think that is why she only put one on each cookie.

I will also use pairs of these to form wreaths and then decorate them with a little icing.

Remember the pocket scarf? It’s been growing, but slowly. I frogged the top back a couple of times, but I think I like it like this. I had to buy another skein of yarn to use up the two leftover bits of grey-blue, dark and light. But the colour isn’t an exact match, so I had to think how best to join them. I am doing this for now:

You can see my solution in the bottom right picture. I will continue until the light colour runs out, then continue with the new colour and the same on the other side. Once the sides are long enough, I’ll graft them together at the back of the neck.  But I still want to bring the colour down to the pocket level, so I’m thinking I will then pick up stitches along the bottom and knit a few rows before I sew up the bottom to form the pockets. And perhaps I’ll crochet around the top of the pocket, then up both sides to where the new colour goes solo. That’s what I get for being an idea person; never-ending projects . . .

So, that’s it for Sunday. Music for today:

Feeling stressed? listen to Bobby McFerrin singing ‘Don’t Worry – Be Happy‘ Robin Williams is in the video, too.

Israel “IZ” Kamakawiwoʻole of Hawai’i singing Somewhere Over the Rainbow

I hope to have baking photos to share next time. Have a beautiful Sunday, everyone.

Warm hugs ~ Linne

Day 16: A Second Story for Saturday

Before I begin, I’d like to remind you, if you haven’t been here for a while, that if you leave a comment on the Day 5 post celebrating my 500th post, your name will go in the bag for my giveaway draw.

Another Travel Story:

Last week I shared my story of a rather amazing trip I took a few decades ago. Well, ten years later, I made a similar trip. I had inherited some money and one thing I did for myself was to return to Virginia in June. No camping this time; I love camping, but I wanted something different. So I booked one night in a hotel, but nothing else. I was prepared to camp again if I had to. Plan Z, I call it, this ‘what I will do if all else fails’. I’ve never had to implement a Plan Z, but I feel better when I have one.

This time, getting there was much of the adventure: It was significantly cheaper to fly from SeaTac (between Seattle and Tacoma) than from Vancouver, BC. So I offered to pay my younger son and his girlfriend enough for them to have a weekend away for a change and they drove me to the airport. Well, we decided to leave a bit early and stop for breakfast on the way. Except we forgot it was Sunday and we were on the freeway. SeaTac 01In the end, we left the freeway and finally found a place that was open. After a more hurried breakfast than we’d have liked, we resumed our trip. Traffic was bad and we were held up a few times, possibly due to accidents. In the end we arrived at the airport at exactly the time my plane was due to take off. I wasn’t worried, and I told the ‘kids’ so; I urged them to go on their way, reminding them that things have a way of working out for me. But my daughter-in-law was not budging. She insisted on staying with the car and sent my son with me to make sure I was ok. When we got to the desk, we found that the plane had not taken off, due to problems with the landing gear . . . So they checked me in and we said goodbye and my son left, likely still worried a bit.

Things continued to unfold . . . because I was so late, they had given away my seat and there was nothing left in the economy class, where I usually fly. But there was room in first class. Hmmmm

First Class 01

I had a comfy seat similar to this.

And apparently I was to be treated as well as if I had paid for it. Nice. Only, I had a very sore throat (I used to get laryngitis frequently back then) and was unable to swallow anything but some warm water. I could have had a drink or two otherwise.

We sat on the tarmac for several hours, then were asked to disembark, as the problem with the landing gear was still not solved. No worries; I didn’t really want to fly with flaky landing gear, anyway. Although I did love the leg room!

So off we went; me holding back because some passengers were in a huge rush; they were trying to get to New York or other big cities where they had to catch a connecting flight to Europe or the like.

By the time I arrived at the booking desk, the poor staff looked so stressed; passengers were upset and shoving, raising their voices and so on. I felt that if I missed the evening sign-in at the conference, it wasn’t the end of the world; if they missed a connection, it might be the end for them. So when I got to the head of the line, I told the young woman that I didn’t have to be in Virginia exactly on time, so long as I got there eventually. And I told her she could send me anywhere, the more unique the place, the better, as I do love an adventure! Her relief and gratitude were almost tangible. So she booked me through to Minneapolis, where I would stay in the Embassy Suites hotel. Now that’s a very nice hotel and it really was a suite. I ordered room service for my supper, as I’d not had lunch and it was late in the evening by then.

Embassy Suites hotel room

My suite was even nicer than this!

After a good night’s sleep I took time to look out my window. Across the street was a huge military graveyard, with row upon row of white crosses. The sight has stayed with me all these years.

Shortly after, I went down to the dining room for my complimentary breakfast. Some of you may have stayed in places like this, but I hadn’t; there was a large room with cooking and serving stations all around in an oval shape. I could have had a Korean breakfast, a Japanese breakfast . . . you get the idea.

Embassy Suites hotel dining room

Much like this, but all around the dining room.

Then it was time to return to the airport and continue on my way. The flight went smoothly and I was soon landing at Norfolk. I forgot to tell you last week that on my first flight here a decade before we flew through a huge lightning and thunder storm. It felt like being on a roller coaster; lucky for me I love roller coasters! But we made it safely and the sight of lightning flashing all around was truly spectacular.

Atlantic sunrise 01

Like this, only redder . . .

I spent my first night in the fancy hotel, on the 17th floor, in a room that faced East. I left the curtains open and woke to the most incredible sunrise ever; a huge red sun rising out of the Atlantic Ocean, right in front of my eyes! I shall never forget the sight.

The next day I learned that there was a beach cottage informally called the Canadian Cottage and that one of the ladies had been unable to come at the last minute. I was offered her room and, of course, accepted. It was right next to the beach and when we crossed the street to the west, we were at the conference. I suppose one could call this serendipity at its best.

I had a great time, renewing acquaintances from the previous trip (the couple I’d stayed with before had moved out of state, so I was unable to visit them) and meeting new people. This time, thanks to my inheritnce, I was able to be more supportive of the organization and I bought a few souvenirs and some raffle tickets.

Did I mention that I had booked this flight for three weeks, also? I did. and I met the nicest volunteer there and we hit it off immediately. She invited me to stay with her for the last two weeks and we had such a good time, visiting historic sites and places of interest to me.  The only hitch was spending a day at the beach when it was very overcast, but warm. My new friend fell asleep and I was reluctant to wake her. I ended up with the worst sunburn I’d ever had. Fortunately, this was the day before I had to go back to BC, so it didn’t spoil my visit. But three days later you could still feel the heat in my arm.

VA Cape Henry historic lighthouse

Historic Cape Henry Lighthouse, Virginia

There is more to this story, but I’ll continue it either next Saturday or the one after that.

I wish you all some time for relaxation and creativity today.

Music:  I’ve been enjoying Selma’s posts on Norwegian Nisse, and I always think of dwarves as larger cousins of the Nisse. Here is Edvard Grieg’s “In the Hall of the Mountain King” from Peer Gynt. This is the first piece of classical music I ever heard and I still recall how vividly the images of dwarves marching underground were in my mind’s eye. It’s a bit rousing, so here is an antidote, also by Grieg:

Morning Mood

 

Day 15: Christmas Baking & a Shortbread Recipe

Well, it’s been an interesting exercise, posting daily. I’ve never tried to do this before and it may be a while before I do it again, at least as a set piece. 🙂  Anyway, I’ve been sitting here racking my brains as to a suitable topic.

I thought about all the Christmas baking I did when my boys were young. Of course I have no photos here, but I think I’ll write about some of that anyway and use pictures off the internet.

Although at the time I was doing most of the Christmas baking we had no electricity and thus no refrigeration, I would begin baking just after Hallowe’en. The things that kept best were made first and the others closer to the big day. My boys didn’t get much in the way of sweets during the year; I didn’t want them to develop a sweet tooth like mine. Generally, bread was the only thing we baked. Christmas was different, though, and I loved to go all-out for the holidays, then we were ready to returnto simple living once it was over.

jam kettle 01The first thing I baked was often the Christmas cakes; I made a variety of shapes and sizes, mostly due to using my bread pans and the like. I used my old jam kettle to mix the dough in. It looked similar to this one, without the handle on the side (just the bale) and, of course, was much older. It showed its long history of jam-making.

The recipe was my own and if I ever find it, I will share it with you all, but not this year. It’s somewhere in the storage.

Once the cakes were baked, I set them, one at a time, on a plate covered with a large piece of cheesecloth, two or three layers. I punctured the cake all over and then poured brandy slowly in the top, letting it soak into the holes; No worries; by the time we ate this, the alcohol had all evaporated, leaving only a delightful flavour. I wrapped the cakes in the cheesecloth, then in waxed paper, then finally in aluminium foil. Then the cakes were packed and put away in the cool mudroom for the next year. (After the first year I made these cakes, we always ate the aged ones.

I made two separate pound cakes, too, in my largest bread pans; one with halved green maraschino cherries and one with halved red cherries. When the cakes were sliced and arranged on a plate with the colours alternating, they looked very festive. Usually, I use whole wheat flour, but the pound cakes were made with white.

Each year I made gingerbread men and also a gingerbread cake. The latter was baked in my largest rectangular pan and was left un-iced. I felt we were going to have enough sugar without icing the gingerbread!

Humdingers 01

Humdingers similar to mine

For cookies, I made hermits (with oats, raisins, walnuts, coconut, and more) and an unbaked cookie that in our family was known as ‘humdingers’. These are rich and chocolatey and I will see if one of my sisters has the recipe. You know where mine is!

 

I loved to make the traditional sugar cookies, too; those we cut out with cookie cutters in Christmas shapes and added the details with icing.

Sugar Cookies 01

Sugar Cookies

I used my Mum’s trick of making a waxed paper cone, then snipping the end off (you have to be careful not to make the opening too large, so go slowly with the cutting if you try this). You can tape the edges or simply be careful. Spoon the icing into the cone, fold the top down and squeeze it slowly. I made several cones and a different colour of icing went into each one.

I made other things, too, but these were the yearly mainstays. And, of course, the Scottish Shortbread! I have made them with oat flour and with rice flour (they are not Scottish if made with only rice flour) and with cornstarch. Our favourite s were the ones with a mixture of oat flour and rice flour.  (using oat and rice flours together goes back to at least the 1800s)

Scottish Oat n Rice Shortbread 01

Scottish Oat Shortbread

Scottish Shortbread

Ingredients:

  •  1/3 cup oat flour or 1 cup porridge (rolled) oats
  • 1 ½ cups rice flour
  • 2/3 cup powdered sugar (icing sugar)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

Method:

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lightly grease an 8″ round cake pan. To make storage easier, you may want to use an 8: square cake pan.

If you are using the rolled oats, grind them in a blender to make your own oat flour.

Place the oat flour (or ground oats) in a mixing bowl and add the rice flour, powdered sugar, and salt, blend well to combine.

Add the butter and mix well with a wooden spoon (or you can use and electric mixer on medium speed for 2-3 minutes) until the batter comes together and forms a dough.

Press the dough into the prepared round cake pan and use a knife to score it into 16 wedges. If you are using a square cake pan, score the dough into 16 bars.

Bake for 10 minutes at 400°F then reduce the oven temperature to 250°F and bake for 25 to 30 minutes until golden brown. Keep an eye on them the first time you make these, as ovens differ. Remove the shortbread from the oven and turn the oven off. Using a sharp knife, cut along the scored lines while the shortbread is still hot. Place the pan back in the oven but do not turn the oven on. Let the shortbread sit in the oven with the door closed for an hour while the oven cools down to let the shortbread dry out and develop a crisp texture).

Remove the shortbread from the oven and allow it to cool completely.

Store in a covered tin to keep the texture crisp.

Well,that’s it for today, I think. If more comes to mind, I’ll add it to another post.

Music for today:

Lead With Your Heart by The Canadian Tenors  (The entire album is here)

I have loved this one since I was a girl:

The French Song by Lucille Starr

Have a great day today. The weekend is nearly here!  Peace & Insight  ~ Linne

 

Day 14: Thankful on Thursday

It will be Thursday in less than an hour; I’m finally getting going a wee bit earlier! My actual goal is to get up early and get things done so that I can go to bed earlier. In practise, I’ve had some wakeful nights  lately and gone to bed quite late, so then mornings become problematical at best and nonexistent at worst. Maybe next year, eh?

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I have been inspired by Ms.Snail‘s Gratitude Posts for some time and occasionally am moved to write one of my own.

So . . . what am I thankful for today? I am thankful for all the things that give me deep joy, that make my heart sing, that keep me going through the tough times and make me want to go on/ There are many, of course, so I’ll pick three  four that I don’t think I’ve listed before:

First, I am grateful for Colour; it has always been important to me. I once painted a large room I was living in a colour I had specially mixed for me at the paint store. I would have to call it ‘neon salmon’ and when I was done painting that room, for one of the few times in my life I thought I might  have gone too far . . . The setting sun shone in through a large west-facing window and the room lit up like the inside of a fire-coal. But when I was done setting up a place to sleep, bringing in my plants and hanging my favourite paintings (especially a large oil pastel of a blue whale underwater, the main reason I’d wanted the bright colour on the wall in the first place; it set off the painting perfectly), the room was amazing. I love colour in flowers and trees, too and here are a few pictures of what I saw this summer, here at my cousins’ and elsewhere:

I love colour in fabrics and yarn, too:

I am grateful for Rocks; for  the shapes of them, the colours, the infinite patterns to be found on them. For some reason they give me a deep feeling of serenity, an awareness of the infinite stretching out of time . . . These are some of the rocks my cousins have collected over the years and placed around their yard:

A third thing I am grateful for is Patterns. I find patterns everywhere:

In the Echinacea flowers we grew this year,

In the rhythms of the handwork done by my Auntie years ago,

My eye was caught by the patterns (and the colours and shapes!) in a display of a variety of squash at a small country stand last autumn. I am so pleased with how this photograph turned out:

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My favourite day planner was chosen partly for its convenient size, but mostly for its colour and patterns:    The pink blanket behind it is on my bed here and has belonged to my cousin S since she was a girl. It makes me feel warm just to look at it.

 

Fourth, I am grateful for whimsy, too, as you can tell from this teapot, which I found by chance in a fancy shop and had thought was lost forever; I had not seen it since we moved out of Mum’s house back in 2006, but I found it again when packing to return to BC last September. One of my dreams is to have my grandchildren visit me for a week, one by one, and I would love to have tea with them, using this sweet Granny teapot:

Well, that’s four things I am grateful for today and now it is only one in the morning, so I have a good chance at getting up earlier tomorrow. I shall be grateful for that, too.

But first, I must find some music. That’s another thing I am grateful for, but you know that already, don’t you?

Two of my favourite Canadians, Kate and Anna McGarrigle; this is their debut CD which came out in 1976, by turns bouncy and danceable, pensive and insightful, sometimes funny, always beautiful with their lovely harmonies and melodies.

I’m not sure if I’ve shared this before or not, but it’s one of my favourites every Christmas. If we can have Peace for a few hours, surely we have it within us to create a lasting Peace . . .

Christmas 1914, song by Bruce Guthro. the Canadian lead singer of Runrig.

May you each find beauty, colour, patterns and harmony in these final days before Christmas or the Solstice or whatever you celebrate in mid-Winter. Peace ~ Linne

Day 13: An easy special treat for Christmas Eve breakfast: Skaters

It’s very early on the 13th and I’ve been visiting blogs instead of writing a post. Then I spent some time deciding what to write about. Posting every day is a bit of a challenge, but fun, too. But today I have solved the photo-inserting mystery, so there will be pictures!

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The cottage pie, before and after it was cut open.

Today I went into town with cousin M to have a notary public sign a single page document. I’ve never had to make an appointment for that before, so hadn’t called ahead. Anyway, we are going back on Friday to have that done. We stopped to order the Christmas turkey from a small shop where we purchased the Thanksgiving turkey; they are raised naturally and so delicious they are worth the price. Then we went to a small speciality yarn shop that is mostly too expensive for me at present. I wanted to buy one more skein of yarn for the scarf, as I’m afraid that my leftovers from the tuques aren’t going to be enough for a decent length. This took a bit longer than I’d hoped, as they no longer carry that brand (why it was on sale in the first place), but I was able to find some pure wool that is very lovely and ought to work colour-wise. And if I don’t need it, I may have to knit or crochet something else. This is what I get for wanting to use up my leftovers . . . I don’t really like to knit with wool for others, as nowadays people often don’t want to take the time to hand-wash items. But my sister will, I know. he values hand-made, too.

The real bonus was finding bamboo double pointed needles in size 0 (that’s a zero) and size 1. You may remember that I have my great-grandmother’s dpns, but one is size 2 and the other three are smaller.  So now I can make socks using her needles, the ones that she taught her children on and also my mother and her siblings. I can hardly wait!

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I’ve had another message from the Norwegian professor and he sent me a photo of my great-grandfather  with three other people. In return I sent him this photo; This is my Mum’s beloved Grandfather Johan and Grandmother Jørgine (Georgina in English and it is Jørgine’s steel knitting needles that are now mine to love and cherish. Behind them is their farmhouse, where Mum and most of her siblings often spent a week or two in the summer and where the family gathered for Sunday dinner on many a weekend. The children were aged 3 to 20 when their mother died and their grandparents stepped in to help whenever possible. I don’t know if I met them when I was taken to Saskatchewan for my first birthday; I hope so.

But you must be wondering about the easy treat, right? It’s very simple and you may use whatever bread recipe you prefer for making buns or rolls. Depending on how many people will be at the breakfast table, you may wish to make only enough for one loaf of bread. I always used a standard recipe for two loaves, as my two boys loved these. You can also make the dough, freeze half and use the other half for one batch. If you prefer a sweet dough, go ahead and use that. I like whole wheat nearly all the time, so that’s what I made, but half whole wheat and half white work well, too. You can add a little wheat germ for extra flavour and nutrition if you wish. I always do.

Now I don’t have photos of these, but if I get to make some during the holidays I’ll come back and update this post. (I’ve searched the internet and am surprised that there are no photos of them anywhere that I looked.)

You can make the dough in a bread machine, too, if that gives you a bit more time.

Once the dough is ready to form into buns for baking, here’s what you do”

Divide the dough into about 12 – 24 pieces. Take one piece and roll it into a cylinder. Form the top into a cone-shaped cap. Twist a bit to form a neck, not too  narrow, though.

With a sharp knife, make a slit from the bottom about 1/3 of the way up the cylinder. This forms the legs. Then form the arms by making two slits from about a half-inch to an inch below the shoulders down past where the waist would be.

Now separate the legs a bit and twist the last inch or so to make feet that stick out to the sides, like feet with skates on. I like to make the tips curve up, like the old-fashioned skates from Victorian days.

Twist the arms a bit, too, pulling them away from the body. You can pose the arms and legs differently to make them more interesting. If you want to be even fancier, pinch off a piece of dough and form a scarf, then wrap it around the neck with the ends blowing in the wind a bit. Don’t make the scarf too thin or long. You want these to bake evenly.

Arrange the skaters on a greased baking sheet as you make them. We used to use two raisins to form eyes and three more to make buttons where the jacket would be. Poke raisins well into the dough so they don’t get shoved out when the dough rises.

You can let these rise now, then bake at 350 F until browned like any dinner bun, or you can put the tray of skaters into the fridge (assuming you have room) and let them rise in  a warm oven in the morning while the stockings are being unpacked (that’s what I did). We always had them with butter and home-made jam., as well as our scrambled eggs and crispy bacon. It was the only time of year that we had bacon, so that in itself was pretty festive.

If you are fairly new to bread baking, I recommend a trial run ahead of the big day so you have an idea of how long it all will take. If you have any questions, do feel free to ask me in the comments below. but I think this is one of my easier Christmas recipes.

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The last of the Honeycrisp apples, the pie we made from them (and a few more) and, on the right, the mincemeat turnovers waiting to be baked.

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The ends for the Dancing Granny scarf as it was yesterday. Today they are a bit longer.

Have a lovely and stress-free day today.

Here’s some music that I like for this season:

Peace Train by Cat Stevens

Imagine by John Lennon