Tuesday, October 28, 2014

A Precious Plethora of Ps

ABC Wednesday
October 29th, 2014
The letter is P

Yes, what a precious plethora of Ps presented when I went searching for fruits and vegetables that begin with this Plentiful letter. Parsnips and Parsley and Peas and Pumpkin and Potatoes on the Practical side, and for Pure Pleasure the Pear and the Peach, the Plum and the Papaya and the Passion Fruit all Promote good health, - to say nothing of the Pomelo and the Pineapple.....

But in the end I chose to tell you about the Pomegranate, that jewel of autumn fruits

Jean Townsend

Pomegranates have been cheriched for their exquisite beauty, flavor, color and health benefits for centuries.

They are royalty amongst fruit, symbolic of prosperity and abundance 
but their health properties are what make them truly precious.

Rich in antioxidants which help in the prevention of cellular damage,
a common pathway for cancer, heart problems, aging and a variety of diseases,
 the Pomegranate has abundant Potassium, folic acid and Vitamin C as well.

Research indicates that Pomegranates may be able to reduce blood pressure,  cholesterol build up 
and even slow down prostate cancer.

It is said that they contain three times more antioxidants than red wine or green tea.

The name "pomegranate" derives from the Middle French "pomme garnete", or seeded apple
and it is sometimes referred to as a Chinese apple.  Many scholars believe that the 
forbidden, yet irresistible, fruit in which Eve indulged in the Garden of Eden was actually a pomegranate, 
not an apple.

Here is a nice little recipe for Grenadine, a syrup flavoured
with pomegranates that may or may not contain alcohol.

Separate the pomegranate seeds from the membranes and skin of approximately two pounds of the fruit.

In a heavy saucepan cover pomegranate seeds with one pint of water
and simmer, stirring until juice sacs release their juice, about five minutes.

Pour through a cheesecloth-layered sieve into a bowl, pressing the juice
from the seeds, (which you will then discard - the seeds, I mean)

Measure the strained pomegranate juice and add an equal amount of sugar.
Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for ten to fifteen minutes.

Cool to room temperature and if you feel the colour of the juice is not to your liking
add food colouring.

Pour it into a decorative stoppered bottle, and voila - 
a wonderful grenadine syrup in children's drinks, or in alcoholic cocktails, desserts, marinades 
and other general recipes.

For more interesting Ps visit here at ABC Wednesday,
with Plenty of thanks to Roger and Denise and Proficient helpers.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Out and About

Starting last Saturday I seemed to be on the go most days, - out and about to lunch, to sing, to knit, and then there were the long, wonderful drives!!!

One of mysweet DILs came and picked me up early on Saturday morning and we took our time driving to Penticton, stopping to take oodles of pictures, and that was a change from taking them on the fly, as I usually do.

I took pictures of soft fading yellow leaves on dark grey trunks and ducks, swimming in the creek that winds along the highway,

We visited parks that I haven't seen in a long while and enjoyed the colours and the sun and light breezes of the morning; and the small children playing on the bright playground equipment.

On our way through the centre of town we came upon this wonderful fall display on a local estate.

and brilliant autumn flowers in brilliant gardener's front yards!

And we caught a glimpse of the Dragon Ladies, practising on the river channel that joins Okanagan Lake with Skaha Lake.  I have learned since that these were the Survivor (cancer) Crew, who are the only ones still practising for an upcoming competition.  I was inspired!

We lunched at the Hooded Merganser, on the lakeshore, and although all we saw in the water fowl category were mud hens, there was a sailboat off shore and the lunch was delicious.

After securing our wallets and putting on the blind-folders we went into Knapps Plantland,  armed against unanticipated purchases and bought some potting soil, vermiculite, a few bulbs and some bunches of Mum's, all wrapped up and displayed along the paying counter at a price nobody could ignore!!!  They don't last forever, being bargain items, but lovely to have for a few days.

On the way home we were enticed up Sheep Creek Road to preview the Christmas Sale that was to start on Thursday of this week, - knowing from experience the great crowd of ladies that make visiting the Red Rooster during spring and fall sales it seemed the wise thing to do, to visit early....

Not only is the shop delightful, - so also is the garden and the numerous bird feeders that attract all the small birds and fill the air with their chirping and contented cries.  I tried to take some pictures with my 'clever' camera, but by then it was starting to rain
 and the camera didn't care for that situation.

I did get some lovely pictures on the way back down the hill, to the highway, and home.

Home is marked by Bear's fruitstand and its wonderful display 
of pumpkins and fall fruit and veggies.

Also by the very distinguishing signage which our eldest daughter designed 
and painted many years ago.

 Well there, that was Saturday, and I haven't even begun to tell what a wonderful time we had driving through the lower Similkameen and the vineyards of the south Okanagan on Sunday,
and here it is, time for supper.

Sunday's adventure and pictures will have to wait for another time.....but this was
a day I enjoyed and appreciated so much.  I miss my drives with Himself......

Monday, October 20, 2014


ABC Wednesday
October 22nd, 2014

The letter is O and the subject is ONIONS

Julian Merrow-Smith

What can I tell you about the onion that you don't already know.

Such an ancient, familiar, priceless part of our plant heritage, onions are endlessly
versatile and absolutely essential in so many of the dishes we savour.

When chopped, onions produce a volatile, sulphur rich oil that makes the eyes water, but
never let that deter you  - its taste, the lovely odour it imparts when cooking
and the unbelievable medicinal qualities it has make it one of the most valued additions
to any menu.

What is a kitchen without a bag full of onions - red, white, purple - all
delicious and so good for you!

I keep a half a dozen frozen onion soups ready in the freezer for days I have
unexpected company for lunch, or to pop into the oven on chilly, damp days.

and what better than onion rings to spice up a burger, or eat alongside a green salad!!

I love onions roasted in the oven, or the delicious aroma of them frying in a pan.

I am particularly addicted to creamed onions served as a vegetable....(although my youngest son only 
recommends creamed onions as a poultice if you get bitten by an alligator)

but what I love most is Onion Pie!!!!

Here is a nice recipe I use....

Combine one and one half cups of flour, 3/4 tsp of salt and one and one half
teaspoons of caraway seed.
Add one half a cup of shortening (diced) and cut into flour mixture.
Mix with 3 tablespoons of ice cold water.

Well you know how to do this pastry making thing, and when you have mixed if and rolled
it and fitted it into a pie pan, bake at 425 degrees for ten minutes.

In the meantime, back at the range, saute three cups of thinly sliced onions
in three tablespoons of butter. Spoon into the baked pastry shell.

Add one and one quarter cups of sour cream and 1/4 of a teaspoon of salt to
two eggs, well beaten.

Blend two tablespoons of flour with a quarter cup of sour creams and combine this
with the egg mixture.

Pour over the onions and bake at 325 degreesF for thirty minutes.
It is nice garnished with bacon curls.....

Very deliciously edible.....

When wool dyeing was one of my passions I used to save the thin papery skins of onions
and sometimes I would beg them from the local grocer,  and they
made a wonderful variety of yellows and golds with just an alum mordant and a bit of
baking soda and cream of tartar.

Also, for many years in my garden a cousin of the onion has been keeping company with the tulips
and looks very tall and elegant amongst them - the allium, also available
in white and pinks.

For more interesting Os visit here at ABC Wednesday
with many thanks to Roger, Denise and the people on their team
who come to visit you....

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Some October, when the leaves turn gold, ask
me if I've done enough to deserve this life
I've been given.  A pile of sorrows, yes, but joy
enough to unbalance the equation.

When the sky turns blue as the robes of heaven,
ask me if I've made a difference.

The road winds through the copper-coloured woods;
no one sees around the bend.

Today the wind poured out of Canada,
a river in flood, bringing down the brilliant leaves,
broken sticks and twigs, deserted nests.
Go where the current takes you.

Some twilight, when the clouds stream in from the west
like the breath of God, ask me again.

Barbara Crooker

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

ABC Wednesday
The letter is N, today

N for Narcissus

I have just tucked in dozens of bulbs for spring, planting them in drifts to make a beautiful picture of yellow waves, tossing in the spring breezes with welcoming nods of their golden heads.  Nice picture to imagine as we say goodbye to autumn and head into winter......

But speaking of winter, my favourite Narcissus is the Paper White, which for all my life has meant Christmas to me.  On my last stop at Knapp's plantland the paper whites were not yet on the shelves, but a kind helper went into the storage room and brought me two dozen bulbs.  I will pot them on December 1st (along with the help of the White Rabbit who visits on that day..) and will look forward to them being in bloom for Christmas Eve.

Lots of other references to "Narcissus", including Ethelbert Nevin's lovely recital show piece for piano........

And of course the poor sad fellow of Greek Mythology, who fell in love with his own reflection in the waters of a spring, ignoring Echo, the nymph, who sat by enticingly.  He pined away and died, and the flower that bears his name sprang up on the spot.

For more great Ns visit here at ABC Wednesday with thanks
to Roger, Denise and all the Nice helpers who come around to read your posting.

Friday, October 10, 2014

A Little of This and a Lot of That

This afternoon casts gentle hints that we may be coming 
to the end of our incredible Indian Summer weather.

There is a faint chill in the air that wasn't there this morning when I 
was out being diligent in the garden,
moving great clumps of coreopsis and rudbeckia 
and planting in their place lilies and spring bulbs

The week has flown by, each day dawning with the crispness of fall
and then, by noon, warming the valley with wild, rich
colours, blue sky and sunshine.

On Wednesday I spoke with a gentleman in India
(who had called me on behalf of Telus)
and he informed me it was 29C there in the city where he lived.
We were only a little behind, - on my front porch
the thermometer read 26C.

As a result of this call my daughter and I are going to have an
encounter with Smart Phones!!!!

For Charles and I a little minimum flip phone was adequate,
and my daughter took over her Dad's phone when he left,
so she could keep track of me.

Now that we are into a new contract time  I took the plunge, and ordered a
clever phone that does all sorts of amazing things, hoping that she
would be happy with this new challenge.

These men from India who work for Telus have a way about them
that is quite encouraging........

A week ago, at this time, we were just arriving in Langley and 
transferring luggage into the Motel.
We had arrived after traveling the Coquihalla, a high pass
across the mountains that I first encountered on a train when
I was taking our first born to the hospital in Vancouver.
In the middle of winter.  When the snow frequently halted one's train journey
at the height of the pass, as it did at that time!

This time I was traveling with the same first born and his wife,
but times were not as fraught and I was able to relax
and take some wonderful pictures of this high country.

We came home along the Hope Princton Highway, where the scenery was 
equally as spectacular and brought back so many memories of the times
Charles and I traveled this road in early October to attend School Board conferences.

We stopped for a break at the spot where the Dewney Trail touches the Rest Area

Lovely quiet woods

and then off to travel the Old Hedley Road leaving Princton

It is so beautiful along this back road as it winds along the water
but unfortunately we ran out of memory on the camera, and the card we had
purchased at Langley was too small and rattled around in the camera,
so we just relaxed and enjoyed the wonderful, familiar drive.

Besides talking to the 'man from India' on Wednesday I made
a really humungous and delicious stew,
so the next day I stashed away a dozen small beef pies in
the freezer, and I'm going to have one for supper!

And it's just about time....certainly time for Happy Hour.

I leave you with one last gorgeous picture that arrived in my mail box today.