Sunday, September 30, 2007

Summer is Over

There is nothing like the crisp, sunny autumn days where feelings of summer continue to lurk in our subconscious. Cold nights are followed by warm days. The light hint of gold in the trees lures us to wonderful paths that wind up the mountainside providing superb views over the expanse of forests to the peaks beyond. It's hard to not cherish the near deserted beaches and the clear blue skies.

That describes most of September...summer hardly around the corner. In fact, scarcely two weeks ago daytime temperatures reached almost 30 C. During that time I was busy collecting and stashing like that greedy, chatty squirrel in my parents back yard. I pillaged my father's garden, at his request, of course. Mainly, I harvested a large portion of the remaining basil. Nothing quite like the sweet aroma of a large bouquet of basal in the kitchen. Most of it went into a few batches of pesto that are now in my freezer.

Now on the eve of October, it feels more like November. This morning the mountain tops were lightly dusted with the white stuff. Since then it's been dreary and wet. I'd rather sit in front of the fire wrapped in my quilt, drinking cocoa and reading a good novel than even slightly peek my nose out of doors. I still have a few vegetable in my own garden which should be brought in soon. Of course I'd like to think that I'm still going to have a sunny day or two over the next few weeks to complete some of those outdoor chores.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Random Conversations

An Arab fellow leaves his male pack and approaches me. He opens with, "So, are you German or are you American?" I am little taken aback, first, at the boldness with which he asks his question, but mainly at the thought that there are only two possible choices for me and they are either German or American. Why is it that when I travel or even when I don't no one ever asks me if I am Canadian as if that couldn't ever be a possibility? In any case, feeling rather singled out with no previous conversational lead up to this particular question, I reply, “Are you trying to determine my ethnicity, or would you like to know which country’s passport I carry?” Then it's his turn. He gives me a somewhat stunned look not quite sure what to say next, so I smile and shrug my shoulders. End of conversation. What would you have done?

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Hot Pepper Jelly

It's the time of year when one feels like hunkering down sheltered from the elements' unpredictable fits of rage. Here in the Kootenays we've had a few days where I wanted to do nothing more but curl up with a good book in front of the fire. After a bit, I decided that I better make myself useful and do something with the bag of hot peppers I purchased at Cottenwood market last week. I had hot pepper jelly in mind. I was first exposed to the stuff a few years ago when my aunt gave me a jar that she had made. This nippy stuff is great on a cracker with a bit of cream cheese...or any kind of cheese for that matter. It's also a great marinade for chicken or other meats and I am sure that there are a myriad other uses that I have not yet discovered. In any case, this is very simple to make and a bit goes a long way.

Hot Pepper Jelly

1 C seeded green bell peppers, finely chopped or ground
1/4 C jalapeno peppers, finely chopped or ground,seeded if desired (or more to taste)

(I personally put all the peppers through the food processor. I used all red pepper to get the lovely colour you see in the picture and did not need to add any food colouring. I also used all hot peppers with varying degrees of heat. I imagine if one used all green coloured peppers the jelly would probably come out a nice green colour.)

4 C sugar
1 C cider vinegar
1 (6 ounce) packet liquid fruit pectin
3-5 food colouring (optional)

1. Mix peppers, sugar, and vinegar in a large saucepan.
2. Bring to a boil, and boil for 5 minutes.
3. Take off heat, add pectin and stir.
4. Return to heat, and bring to a full rolling. Boil for 1 minute.
5. Pour into hot, sterilized half-pint canning jars to within 1/2" of top.
6. Wipe tops of jars and seal the way you normally do (either with wax or metal lids).
7. Store in a cool, dark place.

Makes about 5-6 half-pint jars. To serve, stir to soften, pour over an 8 oz block of cream cheese, and spread on assorted crackers.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Shiver Me Timbers

Avast! Today be International Talk Like a Pirate's Day. Arrr! That's right ye varmit scums. Dust off yer boots, grab ye selfs a rum and drink that cellar dry. But first make sure ye know yer name or you be walkin the plank to visit Davey Jones' Locker. Arrr!

My pirate name is:

Mad Mary Read

Every pirate is a little bit crazy. You, though,
are more than just a little bit. Even through
many pirates have a reputation for not being
the brightest souls on earth, you defy the stero-
types. You've got taste and education. Arr!

Get your own pirate name from
part of the network

Monday, September 17, 2007

Okanagan Grape Muffins

Lots going on with many pictures and stories to share, but sometimes life just doesn't give you much time to breathe. So I thought that in the meantime I'd quickly share this muffin recipe which uses Coronation grapes. Coronation grapes are a seedless, sweet indigo-blue grape with crisp juicy flesh and an intense tart taste. This particular variety was developed right here in BC at the Summerland Agri-Food Research Centre using natural traditional methods. They are basically a seedless (or semi-seedless variety of the Concord). For those of you who haven't been lucky enough to have been exposed to Coronation or Concorde grapes, they are the tastiest grape I think I have ever had the pleasure of eating. They come around but once a year and are only available for a few short weeks in the fall. They are expensive, but in my opinion, well worth the splurge. I imagine you could use any seedless grape variety in these muffins or simply substitute any berry of your choice.

Okanagan Grape Muffins

2 1/2 C flour
1 C sugar (I only use about 3/4 C)
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 C buttermilk
2 medium eggs (well beaten)
1/2 C melted butter
1 1/2 C Coronation grapes

Preheat oven to 400 F (200 C). Line muffin tins with paper cups. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Make a well in the centre. Add buttermilk, eggs and melted butter. Stir until ingredients are just combined. Lightly fold in grapes. Bake 25 minutes or until golden brown on tip. Cool in pan. Makes 12 muffins. Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Intangible

Absence is to love as wind is to fire; It extinguishes the small. It enkindles the great.
~Comte DeBussy-Rabutin

Monday, September 10, 2007

When it Rains

It seems like I need to go away to get noticed. Okay, I'm only joking about that. But while I was gone, I not only received a Rockin' Girl Bogger award, but Debbie over at One Step at a Time thought I was worthy of a Nice Matters Award. That is very sweet of you Debbie and I feel duly honoured to be thought nice enough to receive this award. And if I could give it back to Debbie, I certainly would as she has got to be one of the nicest bloggers out there.

"This award is for those bloggers who are nice people; good blog friends and those who inspire good feelings and inspiration. Also for those who are a positive influence on our blogging world. Once you've been awarded, please pass onto others whom you feel are deserving of this award." So, without further ado, I pass this award onto:

Cheryl over at Free Range Living. Her blog is like comfort food. To read it makes you feel like you've known her for years and are sipping tea with her in her kitchen. Wait a minute...I have known her for years. Still, she is one of the nicest gals I know, full of inspiration and positive influence.

Chani over at Thailand Gal. Her thought provoking posts always inspire good discussion.

Mark over at Naked Soul. Wait a minute...can I give this award to a guy? Mark is always challenging personal growth in his readership, in a caring manner that is sensitive to others' backgrounds.

Rowena over at Rubber Slippers in Italy. She always sees the most positive, beautiful things wherever she goes and has the most delightful adventures. I enjoy her commentary.

Pinks over at Pink Pages for her boundless, positive energy. It's fun to follow her journey through life.

Of course there are many other nice bloggers out there. Many of them, I've noticed have already received this award. Check out my sidebar if you are looking for more.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Rockin' Girl Blogger

While I was off exploring the world, the lovely Pinks gave me a Rockin' Girl Blogger award!!! How cool is that? Doesn't she just rock! So I am now officially a Rockin' Girl Blogger. Big thanks and hugs to you Pinks!

Now it's my turn to pay it forward and award five other Rockin’ Girl Bloggers. I have to tell you, if I read your blog, you rock. So I bestow this award, in no particular order, to the following female bloggers who inspire me and keep me blogging:

Jeanine over at Bohemiam Girl. I've only started reading her blog, but she has fabulous photos, an amazing garden and can write to boot.

Annie over at If Only I Could Learn to to Write Right actually is a writer. She writes poems, short stories, novels and can transport you just about anywhere through her writing and you will also find some lovely pictures of the English countryside.

In JBelle, over at Notes from the 'Kanewa, I think I have found a true kindred spirit in all things travel related. If you pop over there, you will see what I mean.

Carrie at Life in the City for her wry wit and endlessly entertaining stories

As Mone over at Headlost says, she is just a "Rock 'n Roller," so how could she not get the Rockin' Girl Blogger award? Great photos and some funny adventures as well.

Now I hate to limit it to just five because like I said all the female bloggers I have linked to deserve a Rockin' Girl Blogger Award. I think some (or many) of them have already received it. In fact, if I remember correctly, I think Sirdar awarded me with a Rockin Girl Blogger awhile back, but obviously I was having a blonde moment as I didn't figure out what I was supposed to do with it until this time around (Sorry about that).

Friday, September 07, 2007

Medevial Help Desk

Here is some good Norwegian humour for any of you out there frustrated with your computer or technology in general. It seems that there have always been issues in keeping up with new technology.