Friday, November 26, 2010

Cooking - It's Soup Makin' Time!

It's been snowing all week ... the snow that should've been non-existent in this so-called temperate climate here on the west coast of Canada.  The snow and cold that drove us away from the interior, where -20 deg. C in winter is a balmy day.

I made my first pot of soup for the season yesterday, and it was delicioso, if I do say so myself.  This is how I made it:

I slightly braised a large chopped onion in a blob of butter (just until it was cooked through, not too browned), then chopped a red pepper and added it to the large pot with the onion.  In went two celery stalks, 1 large sweet potato (the white kind), a bunch of carrots (I think I had about eight medium sized ones left in the 'fridge) and a potato, all peeled and chopped.  I also added some chopped ginger, all the while adding a dash of water here and there to prevent burning.  The stove was on medium.  Then I poured in a whole carton of pre-prepared chicken stock - 500 ml, and a teaspoon of crushed garlic, and let the pot simmer for a long while at medium/low (about 30 minutes or so, until all the veggies were soft).  Once that was done, I whizzed it with my immersion whisk until everything was slush.  I continued cooking, threw in some salt to taste, white pepper, and a small carton of half and half cream.  Also, 2 teaspoons of hot curried mixture (I like a bit of a bite). I cooked everything through for about another half hour, then left it to cool just a tad - five minutes or so.  I served it with hot rosemary bread.

It was so scrumptious! The kids loved it too.  Does anyone else have off the cuff soup recipes you'd like to share? It's one thing I know how to cook well, so I make it a lot during the fall/winter season.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Writing - Estrogen Evening

This is a non-fiction piece I will be handing into class today.  I had to write about an immersion experience in 800 words.  I probably have loads of grammatical errors ... a weakness of mine.  Sigh!  Debbie

Estrogen Evening

Chocolate was everywhere. The Bernard Callebaut type of chocolate, white, silver-wrapped, nutty chocolate, custardy balls of pastry dipped in chocolate, and chocolate cakes cloaked in chocolate. Everything sweet seemed to be dripping with chocolate. There were also some savoury snacks: cheese, crackers, cold meats, the odd hot wing at the end of the evening. Champagne with bits of chocolate at the bottom of the glass was served by smartly dressed waiters, and you could also grab a glass of pink bubbles at a central table.
My friend, Beth, kindly treated me to the Chicks and Chocolate function held on Wednesday, November 10, 2010 at the Port Theatre in downtown Nanaimo, British Columbia. The event was to raise funds in support of the Vancouver Island Symphony Orchestra. It started at 6.00 p.m., but we arrived a little late, so we missed the chocolate and champagne fountain and being greeted by the Timbermen B and VI Raiders players. I was not keen on going. I am not a girly type of woman and neither is Beth. But she got the tickets for free, and there was chocolate to be had, so we decided to go.
As we entered the foyer, we found ourselves amidst a sea of women of every size and age, some dressed casually, and others seemed to have just come from work. The Red Hat Society ladies were flamboyantly spreading their rosy joy through the crowd, chatting and joking. They stood out with their red and purple hats, some with ribbons and bows, and others with feathers and shiny metals of silver and gold. Shades of crimson, white, coral pink and yellow roses were placed in large containers throughout the space, knitting the scene together. We resolutely waded into the perfumed, chatty, feminine ocean of sights and sounds and smells.
There were wares and services intended to attract female customers at various tables. I vaguely remember jewelry, cosmetics, a health and wellness clinic, botox information, and there was a Mystic Room, where one could get a peek at your future. We got a guest pass at the Nanaimo Athletic Club table, which I intend to use after eating all that chocolate. There were also classes throughout the night teaching ladies how to build an outdoor Christmas bell, how to make cheesecake, accessorizing outfits with scarves and other accessories, salsa lessons, and so on.
I was getting somewhat bored until we came across the Cheesecake Burlesque Revue, Chocolate Cabaret, which was held inside the auditorium. It was a cheeky, fun program of burlesque dancers. Yes, the clothes came off, and bums were seen and boobs were jiggled and swung with their little tassels. There was even a feather fan dance, much lauded by burlesque enthusiasts. Beth couldn't sit through the whole program. She felt uncomfortable at all that flesh on stage, so she left. But I was quite fascinated, especially by one of the dancer's gorgeous, sparkly shoes. It was hilarious, and the crowd seemed to enjoy it and hooted and clapped when the clothes came off (which I thought was strange since we were all women in the room). Perhaps the applause was for the dancers' bravery for unclothing themselves in front of a crowd of females. How sexy could a dancer get? The dances were cute with their fifties theme. The performances were professional and well choreographed, so undressing was somewhat unnecessary, I felt. But, that is part of burlesque, therefore, part of the act. I imagined men would find the experience quite different.
I met up with Beth again. Then we found the Vancouver Island University Spa Institute, Esthetics and Nail Services, from the Parksville campus. They had set up three tables with three students attending each one. We were lucky that two chairs had vacated just as we came into the passage where they were positioned. I had a hand and arm massage, and Beth opted to have her nails painted. The massage was delightful. I felt as if every muscle melted. And each arthritic knuckle was put in place, and all stress seemed to flow from my finger tips. It was totally relaxing.
We left early and missed a few events, such as the baritone singer, a couple of health seminars, the bachelor auction (Jason Cook, the baritone singer, was one of the bachelors), and more burlesque, including a class showing you how to dance in that style. But we did not leave before having some chocolate wrapped cheesecake. It was delicious, as was the whole evening.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Health - Kiwifruit

I was pealing and chopping a kiwifruit the other day, and wondered how much good it did my body.  It is such a pretty fruit once you get the skin off (although the contrast between skin and inner fruit is almost poetic in its disparity).  I found this site.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Today ...

... I went for my first post-menopausal mammogram ... nuff said.  :(

News - Politics Politics

So, our esteemed Premier, Gordon Campbell, has resigned.  I almost missed that with all the action down south.  The House is now the Republicans, but the Democrats retain the Senate, barely.   Wowee!  Them tea partiers know how to party at the voting station.  I'm not sure if I like the tea party express, but not that cool with unions being involved so deeply in elections either.  So, I guess it all balances out.  Anyway, not my country, but it is fascinating.  I wonder who will be our next Premier here in British Columbia?  I hope he or she will get rid of that HST, since 70% of the voters did NOT want it, but Mr. Campbell (as is typical of many Liberals) knows what's best for us little citizens.  We can barely tie our shoelaces without the government showing us how to do it.

That's my opinion, for whatever it's worth ... I guess = 1 vote, 'eh!  :D

Yellow daisies

Yellow daisies
taken in Nanaimo

White daisies

White daisies
field of daisies taken in Nanaimo