Thanksgiving Challenge

Last year at this time I was in full-out Thanksgiving dinner mode. See last year’s post here. This year I thought I was going to cruise through the weekend with absolutely no stress in sight. Alas, here I am on Thanksgiving Monday in the throes of assembling something “wow-worthy”. If not for my family’s enjoyment then at least my own sense of accomplishment. Here’s the thing…since we went to my parents’ house for Thanksgiving for a couple of days I figured that I wouldn’t feel like preparing one myself so I didn’t fill my fridge and pantry with any of the necessary ingredients. This Thanksgiving Day I have decided to challenge myself by putting together a full spread with a near empty kitchen. I seem to like this type of challenge since I do this type of thing frequently. I cook with the spirit of adventure – trying new things is great fun and I seldom use recipes except to bake.  I am sticking to an Autumn harvest theme in celebration of the season.

 

At present I have a luscious smelling pot of pumpkin and roasted garlic soup simmering on the stove. It is chock full of delicious organic ingredients and fresh herbs from my garden. In the oven is a cauliflower roasting away with real butter (mmmm…) and a sweet mesquite spice blend.  I have yet to sort out a main dish but I suspect a chickpea something or other is about to be concocted.  I’ll report back on that if anyone is interested in the comments below.  Cyndi over at Healthy A-Z inquired as to whether I would be making the gluten-free pumpkin pie that I made last year. She inspired me to do so. Sadly, my cupboards were void of the necessary items so I have decided to whip up a spiced custard and serve with baked apples. 

 

This time of year encourages me to get busy in my kitchen and get back to the simplicity of great food using what is being harvested. Soups and stews fill my foodie brain and I enjoy the run out to the back garden to snip herbs for whatever is in the works on the stove. I am usually hopping from stone to stone down the garden path in my bare feet and quickly darting back into the warmth of my fragrant kitchen with my arms full of healthy goodness.  

 

To all of my fellow Canadians, may you be filled with thanks for all of your blessings and enjoy a wonderful Thanksgiving with friends and family. To all the non-Canadians, let the spirit of gratefulness bring you peace at this splendid time of year.

 

 

 

“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.”  – Oprah Winfrey

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Rolling Storms & Tomatoes

What a week it has been here in the Niagara Region of Ontario. The heat and humidity have been unbearable with  most days this week over 100 degrees with the humidity. It’s been draining working outside and quite irritating to hear those that work indoors complaining about the heat while sitting in their air-conditioned splendor. It’s unnerving how heat and humidity can turn the gentlest of souls into cranky bizatches at the snap of the fingers, myself included. I was teetering on the verge of insanity a few times this week…it was not comforting, let me tell you.

 

 

Thankfully, the rains finally came last night helping to rid us of some of the humidity and the accompanying suffocating heat. Although it came at a price. We had rolling lines of powerful thunderstorms, severe winds, and tornado warnings. There were a few times we ran to the basement for cover when the rains pelted down so heavily that we couldn’t hear each other speaking and the winds contorted the trees like seasoned yogis. We had just sat down to dinner when the first wave of storms rolled in with huge dark clouds, whipping winds and rain that hit the windows like rocks. At one point the rain ceased between storm surges and a flock of seagulls took to the sky above our neighborhood, circling overhead like a warning.

 

 

Throughout the night my mind kept going to my garden. Hoping my tomato plants were holding up. I had noticed while closing up before the first rainfall that one of the plants had been bent by the winds, putting it in jeopardy of snapping off. A few stakes were strategically placed to try to stop the toppling of the tomato cages in hopes of preserving the easily snapped stems. Early this morning there was a clap of thunder so loud that I sat straight up in bed. What was my first thought? My tomatoes. I was thrilled that the gardens were getting a thorough watering but at what expense? I certainly wasn’t about to trek out into the storm and it was still dark outside so I couldn’t see if there was any destruction in the veggie patch.  I am definitely a gardener to the core…or perhaps just anxious for homegrown, plump and juicy tomatoes.

 

 

First thing this morning before the neighborhood started to stir, I tiptoed barefoot out to the garden with a mug of steaming coffee in my hand to check on my little lovelies. Phew! Everything had weathered the storm far better than expected. One of my Brussels sprout plants had been partially uprooted but was easily re-positioned. Two tomato plants were tipped but not broken, thankfully. One of my potato plants’ top growth was flattened by the pelting rain but all-in-all everything looked happy to have been saturated and refreshed. I took this time to get cracking at pulling weeds while the ground was soft and still have loads more weeds to pull today since they are easier to pull out of mud than dry, compacted soil.

 

Interested in what it looked like around these parts? Check out this link on The Weather Network. There is a brief video and loads of pics sent in by Ontario residents.

 

 

Today has turned out to be a beautiful day in the neighborhood.

 

 

 

 

“In all things in nature there is something of the marvelous.”  – Aristotle 

Say what!?

Two nights ago, my energetic daughter and I decided we would do something we haven’t done together since she was very young. We stopped by the Welland Canal while we were out running errands to watch the ships. We were fortunate enough to catch a ship just as it was coming out of  the lock. The two of us sat beside the canal to watch as the ship passed on what we now refer to as the “giant lemon”. The technical term I am at a loss for, so I will call it a cleat or mooring thingy for lack of a better term. It was lovely to sit by the canal in the early evening with someone so dear to my heart and chit-chat about nothing of pressing importance, just whatever came to mind.

 

After the ship passed us by we decided to walk along the path by the canal. Those of you that know me personally may be a little bit shocked at what I am about to reveal. Be prepared. Not only did we walk, but we went for a jog! Yes, I said jog. I know! Me… jogging! I shocked myself with how much energy I had before, during and after. I may just have to rethink my lifelong loathing of all things related to running. I have always loved the idea of running. The wind in my face, blowing my hair and the feeling of freedom people who run seem to have. I want those things. My body just has never cooperated. My state of cardio sucks – and I mean sucks, even though my body is strong. Truth be told, I don’t like the way “things” move around when I run either.

 

So, not only did we jog, we jogged barefoot. Now I understand why barefoot running is so popular. It is totally different from running in shoes and feels incredible. The connection with the surface is a unique feeling and the impact doesn’t feel as harsh. I am not a fan of having filthy feet though and trying to avoid the droppings of Canadian geese was interesting, to say the least. I guess we were not only walking and jogging but also dodging and springing around. It was very freeing, and we giggled together like a couple of kooks. It was such a great feeling to smile from ear to ear and have those that were sharing the path with us to smile back at us as we zipped by them.  We created memories that will last a lifetime with something very simple. We are both looking forward to the next  “jog” together.

Blue Skies Smiling At Me

…nothing but blue skies do I see!

The sky is so incredibly blue today. It has inspired me to surround myself in the healing, relaxing shade.

I started my day with a strong cup of coffee out on the deck and a pedicure.

I have been barefoot all day, soaking in the earth’s energy and warmth. Delicious.

I highly recommend gardening barefoot. There is nothing quite like the feel of  the soil under your feet. When I walk or lean forward, my toes meld into the earth.

Go ahead, get dirty! You are washable!