I am so sorry to be so long in catching up. We were away for the month of November and when we returned, it was getting the house done up for Christmas. Don and I spent a very quiet Christmas together and in January, in a freakish snowstorm here on the Island, Don slipped on the ice and broke his back.
In the 5th week since his fall, he has not improved any and is in a ton of pain. I will get back at it, but right now I am chief caregiver, cook and housebound companion. We both are. For a couple who are always on the go (as our neighbors tell us) we have not been outside to go anywhere.
So, please, bear with me. I will be back.
One of the reasons there haven’t been that many new recipes is we are spending a couple of hundred hours updating the look of the site and now we have found over 200 pictures we are trying to add on. It is also Tax Season and that keeps my picture adder busy. So please stay with me and when we are done I know you will be pleased.
For anyone new to this page, please know that, after almost 8 years of doing this, we are now trying to put pictures to recipes. The reason it wasn’t done as much before is we would put the camera on the counter, say a trillion times that day, we can’t forget to take pictures and you guessed it. Meals eaten and then hear “Oh no, we forgot to take the pictures.
So bear with me, we will play catch up as much as we can and as soon as we can.
My birthday was fast approaching and, as in the past 60 plus years, I became very ‘down’. I never had a birthday party from 8 years old until I turned 40 and then when I met Don. Don was always, always very good to me. Dinners prepared by him, dinners out. Sometimes family members were there.
This year he was very close to the chest with what was happening. On Friday, he said to me that today was OUR day to do whatever, go where ever and we did. We went grocery shopping at three different stores, went to a new shop (to us) and Don bought a Staub Baking casserole and I bought the bestest thing in the world. A door mat that says “If you forgot the wine, GO HOME”. I saw this on face book over a year ago and wrote then that I wanted one. Now I found it. My two neighbors weren’t impressed but anyone who knows me, laughs. Onward….
I treated him to lunch to thank him for such a special day. I thought this was my present. A special day with him and no thought of work or house cleaning.. After all, we had just moved here.
Saturday morning I opened all the cards that mysteriously appeared all at once and then I opened my present, wrapped ever so prettily. Inside was the itinerary for our trip to Ireland, leaving in a month. I couldn’t believe it. Not only that, he prepared a luscious dinner and invited our dear neighbors to join us. This was spectacular and so delicious. Also the phone calls and singing were so special.
Sunday, we went down to the park on the waterfront in downtown area, and walked for awhile then grabbed a snack and walked all the way back to the car. (We have to make sure we can walk when we get to Ireland).
Note to all: Don wins the prize for the cutest card and Kelly – well, she won for the funniest card. I was laughing so hard when I opened it, Don says “what has Kelly said now”. Yup, it was a funny one.
So, this was extremely special year and I am truly loved. I just won the lottery of life for sure. Thank you.
Some plans need to be adjusted due to the fact life takes over and adjustments are required. So Don and I decided to do the ‘gourmet’ thing for us. We have, many, many times, simply planned our menu, laid the table in a special way and celebrated the day and meal for just us.
The morning began with a spectacular sun rise at about 6:15 a.m. then off to Church we went. When we returned home, we put this plan into action.
We decided the other day to plan our meal and the one stipulation was: it all had to come from my recipes that are on site. Done!
Soft gold table cloth/green flowers/candles
Good China/Wine Glass
Arancini** with a special sauce by Don and red Grape clusters/drinks on the deck, overlooking the ocean.
Belgian Endive With Dungeness Crab Salad
Filet Mignon with Oscar Seafood Topping, (shrimp/scallops), sauce for the steak
**okay, I didn’t make the Arancini but it was really delicious.
Being alone or just two people does not have to be a dull “oh woe is me’ kind of dinner. Try it and you will feel so good about yourself, the meal you prepared and, in general, life around you.
When we bought our condo, we wanted to make it ours, meaning colours we would feel comfortable with and make it homey for everyone who enters here.
We went to Sherwin Williams to pick paint colours and wallpaper (yes, wallpaper) and we will be showing pictures when it is complete. I do have to tell you what has been done so far is absolutely stunning. I can be hired out. Just kidding! I only picked the paint and wallpaper, Michelle and her crew, Caitlin and Dave, did all the work.
The company comes with the friendliest and happy crew who take great pains not to mess anything up, cover everything and then they start….the fill holes, smooth walls,
In case you were unaware, we recently moved and it took until today for me to get my computer and printer set up. So – now we will begin again new recipes and insights for 2017. I hope you stick with me.
Thanks for sticking with me and I hope I can give you recipes you will use over and over.
We always have memories…some good – some not so good but ours this year are absolutely amazing.
We had visits with family, cousins (several actually), visits with friends, and barbeques galore. As most of you know, our home was up for sale and, yes, it finally sold. We had planned over a year ago to go to New Orleans and take two of our ‘kids’ with us for Hallowe’en. We planned and we booked everything.
Not too long before we were getting ready to start packing we got an invitation to attend a 25th Anniversary of Don’s nephew and wife in Edmonton. Okay, so we change our flights and now we are ready to go. Two days before we leave, our Real Estate Agent and friend, Mark comes over and says “when are you leaving on your holiday?” We told him on Friday. He then says with a grin, well it will be sold by then. The offer is in. WOW and WOW.
Now from that Friday, October 14 to our return on November 3rd, we took 10 different planes (to the party, then here to buy a condo and then to Calgary to get the kids and off to New Orleans and back and came home with 3 weeks to finalize the packing up and moving. Christmas was only 3 weeks from our move in day so, dear friends in all this, your Christmas card and letter will be late.
This summer, Don and I celebrated our 25th Anniversary and our children planned, set up and invited everyone my daughter could find in our phone book. The whole weekend was one surprise after another. Family, life long friends and neighbors came. Our deck held a sit down dinner for 40 people and was catered perfectly. The wedding cake we had was so much better than the one we had so many years ago.
We will never forget what they did for us and all the love they gave back to us and we are so grateful.
We have now moved, still settling in and with a couple more tweeks, our condo will be what we want and will be so comfortable for us.
So, although the card will be late, our wish to each and everyone of you is Merry Christmas and all the best for health and dreams to come true for 2017.
Don and Bonnie
My daughter has always joked about being shafted cuz my birthday and Mothers day are so close. This year they are one day apart. She came out here to spend it with me and what a thrill. It feels good to be allowed to feel like a Mom, even at my age. You see, we live so far apart we don’t get to physically visit very often.
This year, however, my husband went over and beyond anything I could imagine. Dinner with neighbors on my birthday. This was two-fold as they met my daughter and we got to share a beautiful dinner and, following dinner, we had a little sing-song as our friend plays the guitar.
Next day a beautiful breakfast and then Kelly treated us to lunch at the Fairview Golf Club. Great food and service. Then another great dinner with my cousin and husband. They are my daughter’s godparents and you could not have asked for better. Whew! Waistline is in trouble now. This was a New Orleans flavour meal.
Sunday, Don treated us to a gorgeous brunch at Liquidity Winery. OMG! was it ever good and stuffed-we waddled to the car. Poor Kelly came home and went for a 3 km walk. Once again, a lovely evening.
Monday, we had a quieter day as Kelly had to leave in the evening to return home and it would be after midnight by the time she got there. Don prepared the best ribs for an early supper with Kelly before sadly saying see you in two months. More on that later.
I guess for me, the reason this Mother’s Day was so darn special was my daughter returning to me a Mom’s Day card she made up when she was 8 years old. I gathered up some old pictures and things I thought she should have and this card was one of them. She told me I was still the keeper of this card. I checked the address and then got her age. I never knew that she held me so high as HER Mom. It was after this that her teacher made me tell my daughter that I was not perfect and she had to listen to them and not me so much. Can you believe that? I hope no other teacher would EVER say that to a beautiful spirit. Trust me then life changed. I keep reading it over and over and can’t stop the tears. This was from her heart (spelling was something else) but so sincere. I didn’t know I was such a good mom to this beautiful grown up daughter. For this I thank you so much Kelly. I wouldn’t have traded one moment (well a few come to mind)..never mind it was, is and will be my greatest gift I could give this world of ours. You!
Now, to my husband..I have said thank you a million times for these fabulous 5 days and all the work you went through. I say thank you each and every day when I wake up and certainly when I say goodnight to you. You are a gift given to me to treasure, love, care for and occasionally dust off. I love you and , yes, you still owe me 40 years. I have been blessed beyond anything. I don’t know why I got so lucky, but am truly thankful.
When you read this, have a box of Kleenex handy. You will need it because you are laughing SO hard or weeping as I did, ever so briefly. This is what happened…..
Nerves are shot since Sunday when we saw some poor deer get killed on the highway and when we got there the poor little thing was in the final throes of dying. This, my friends, is not a pretty sight. I don ‘t think I cried so hard in a very long time. It really was upsetting.
Okay…let’s go to yesterday…with my daughter coming here, her ‘mommy’ must bake her favourite things. Old fashioned corn muffins – top of the list. Oh wait – double the recipe and she will be able to take some home thinks mom. Good and done.
Now, let’s see company is coming and one lady cannot eat nuts so I will make her a fresh lemon cake I read about on face book. Okay, let’s see slice thin 4 lemons and place in a saucepan with a pinch of salt and 3 cups of water. Simple? Yea? great. After 15 minutes, place in a food processor to grind up the lemons until smooth and add the 3/4 cup of butter to grind up together.
Uh…okay I think I can use the large container for the ninja blender and, if necessary, do in two portions. Okay I get it in and now…get ready…
Stupid here tips the glass container into the machine and turns it on. NOTHING! I try again and, this time, shake the glass container a little and turn it on. NOTHING!. okay now it dawns on me. To remove the container I have to turn the WHOLE machine upside down to remove it and can you guess why? Of course you can. I forgot to put the blades on and I now have lemons and melted 3/4 cup of butter ALL OVER THE COUNTER like a bloomin’ river. Have you ever tried to grab paper towels with slippery hands and trying not to spill any of this on the floor?
Of course you haven’t ‘cuz you are so much smarter than I was . Where was my husband, you say? Well he was out running errands that took forever.
Back to the nightmare. I then figured that since I probably lost a lot of the lemon in the boiled water, I should strain it and then add the pulp to the mix. Fine. River of butter and lemon pulp abated, I carry on and do whatever the recipe said to do.
I don’t have a cake pan with 2 inch sides so…yup! I have to make 2 cakes. Fine, says me most sarcastically. Why not? What else can go wrong, I say.
As I am getting ready to pour this into the cake pans I think that the colour doesn’t look right so I look around the kitchen and….why should this be any different…the 4 eggs and egg yolks are in the bowl smiling back at me. I quickly add them to the bowl and beat it until it is mixed. I can NOW pour the batter into the 2 pans and bake for the set time. The bell rings and out they come. You must let these sit for 20 minutes before removing them from the pans and continue cooling on a rack.
Whilst hubby and I are on the deck having lunch. I say to him maybe we should sample this a bit. After all it is for company. Don says (still laughing) okay, just a sliver.
Here and now, let me apologize for anything you or your ancestors think I ever did them, I am really sorry.
I cut two slivers out and nearly capsize. The texture of this disaster is like a ‘settled creamy jelly’. OMG!
Into the garbage they go. That’s it, I quit for the day. Now to add insult to this (being me), my neighbor came over and I was telling her and Don was at the table as well. They just howled.
Not funny says I.
This is the most humbling experience for me. I just may have to give up baking. Be prepared family and friends.
There goes 50 plus years of baking any and all desserts no matter how difficult. This cake was called ‘Simple”. Right!!!!!
Well, the dust has settled and we are still smiling about just how successful the night was. Let me explain…
About 5:45 p.m. Don and I started putting together the ‘snacks’ we had planned. This, alone, took us few days to think out and plan for and now we were ready to execute.
I double checked that washroom (enough paper out), mirrors cleaned, fresh hand towel on the counter and set out the candle so it would be ready to light just before our guests arrive.
Work done now and I light the bar of candles on the entry table, the candle in the bathroom and turn the light on and dim it a little. I always turn the light on so guests can find it easily and not always ask where the washroom is. The time is now about 6:55 p.m.
As they arrived, two by two (kidding, sort of) we introduced everyone to each other. Well, now I know it is going to be a good night. They all stood on the entryway and talked, and talked. I finally went and sat on the bench in front of the window and after a few moments I started to laugh. When they looked up and saw me, they came and sat down in the living room, the conversations never missing a beat.
We introduced everyone to the table with the snacks and poured the first glass of wine. We informed everyone that from this moment on, they were on their own. This way, you eat and drink what you want, not what the hostess thinks you should do. Don and I went into the kitchen and set out the hot appies and now invited everyone to ‘hit the table’ and everyone was into the evening.
Remember now, everyone who is not of the ‘mature’ birthdays, this is how the ‘oldies’ handle this kind of evening. One neighbor got up and returned to his home and came back with his guitar, music stand and book of songs. Not to be left out, another neighbor went to her home and came back with her husband’s package of about 8-9 harmonicas and song sheets. Then the fun began.
After a little bit, Don got up and picked up his Hawaiian gourd drum (Apu Hekki..sorry if spelled wrong) and away we went. We sang and sang, laughed and chatted the night away. When the evening (early morning hour) was done and the last neighbor left, it was the most successful evening we have had. Don and I have been in the entertaining mode for over 25 years and I always thought we did a good job. This? This was the best.
Our neighbors may not get together often but they won’t forget this night and best of all, won’t be strangers when they do meet again. Don’t be afraid to do this when and if new neighbors move into your block or neighborhood.
Oh yeah, on a final note….our new neighbors did not know each other but it turned out one neighbor knew the father of the other new neighbor. Also, they wanted to exchange emails at the end of the evening because in April another ‘hootenanny’ is going to take place and they want the guitar player and beautiful partner to be in attendance as well.
In the last few months we welcomed in two new neighbors into their new homes. Our friend Charlotte invited us over one night to meet the new neighbor next to her and it was lovely with wine and snackies and generally, get to know our new addition to the cul de sac.
Next to us, new neighbors moved in and we got to know them real well. Now, they don’t know the other two couples so…..
We are hosting a wine and cheese “get to know the neighbors” evening here. We are having the usual wine and finger foods. This is what Don and I chose and hope it will suit any and all tastes.
- Grape Meatballs (recipe on site)
- Triple layer (crustless) sandwich sticks of crab and egg
- Ginger and hazelnut crackers with whipped cream cheese and yellow bell pepper jelly (spicy)
- Cucumber rounds with a herb cream cheese/goat cheese/roasted red pepper (3 different rounds)
- Salami sticks on baguettes pieces
- Belem (Portuguese) Tarts
That should make the evening an enjoyable one and make it all a little friendlier. I told one couple last night that the reason we were doing this was so they would not be left out when we move (if we sell the house, that is). The lady booed me.
Onward for tonight.