Monday, February 28, 2011

touch



I was remembering yesterday how my Dad used to rub our feet.
As long as he lived . .
I would often lay down on the floor and put my legs up where his hands could easily reach them.
The moment of this photograph brought his loving touch back to my memory.

Grandgirlie ...chillin' on the couch with me. .
legs crossed .. .on my lap.

Her toddler days seem to be vanishing.
I hope I'll never forget her cheerful baby girl ways . .
and her vast capacity for finding life exciting.


Today is a grammie day with lil' farm hand and Kanneloni Macaroni.
I wonder what the day will bring . .
which moments I'll want to commit to memory here on the blog.

all for now .. .

Friday, February 25, 2011

glimpses


Have you been there? 
Quite tasty.


Wrapped with a smidge. . received with a smile.


Soft pink tulips that promise springtime. .  .




Coffee with girls that go wayyyyy back and we're thankful we do.

That was just a bit of my wonderful post birthday day.
The day also included dinner at my brother and sister by love's. ..
a delivery of a gorgeous orchid and a visit by another friend . . .
and a mail box which had happy mail.

Happy Friday . . . .

all for now . ..

Thursday, February 24, 2011

the birthday storm



Well . .that was fun!
It's funny how often it has snowed on my birthday over the years.
I can recall quite a few late winter random snow falls that have fallen on my birthday.
Yesterday's seemed so unlikely since we've had so few flakes fall but plenty of drops this winter.

The highlights of the day?
Movies of  pint sized kisses being blown my way and sent to my cell phone.
Phone messages of familiar young voices saying sweet birthday wishes.
and fun messages all through the day.


These phone  pictures are not all that great . ..
but not bad since their job was to document the snow.

We surely did enjoy our date day.
Lunch at an Italian restaurant. . .  ( you know you are getting older when you take your big meal at noon )
shopping for nothing in particular. . .
and home safely again to relax and enjoy the wind storm from the warmth of the bungalow.

Thank you dear ones for being so kind.
I had the best birthday ever!  (almost)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

make that two



What was your favorite Vancouver Olympic memory?

Being woken up at 2:30 AM  and given a 15 minute window to get dressed and then driven to Vancouver to catch the Gondola up Whistler Mountain to see the Today show ..
was way up on the top of the list  along with watching that final hockey game and sharing those cheers with friends.

Even I can't say with a straight face.  . . ."well that was a dull year".



What I can say is that I have embraced all the new experiences that God has placed into my life.
I've added a few new wrinkles around my eyes and for the most part they have been from smiling.
My skin has a tad less elasticity but that is okay too because part of adding another year to my life means that blessings are being added too and an additional grand came into the world this last year.



I've met some pretty famous people this last year but more importantly .. .
 I've made some new friends that have added a dimension into my world that I never expected.
The friends I have in my life who walk the journey along with me  have become more dear and more precious.
The family I have is mine. . .and I love them for who they are in each of their unique personalities.



I will be spending this day a little like last year.  ..
 with the one I love. . .
and that makes me a very happy girl.

all for now . .

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

the team



Isn't it a privilege to serve?
We think so too.
For the second time in as many years we've been invited to share in the evening to appreciate our pastors.



Our reputation had followed us from last year because this year we were noted to be the "team".
Working with women in a kitchen seemed to be my theme for the weekend and  as with the previous group of my girls. ..this set of girlfriends (Dorothy, Linda and Hilda) also are a blessing.



The girls pretty much stayed in the kitchen while the guys served each course and then took care of the washing of dishes and cutlery in "their" kitchen ..
while we cleaned up the kitchen and washed the pots and pans.

By the end of the evening  ...
we had next years menu sorted out and a few other items of discussion as well.



And who are the good folks that open their luxury inn for an evening everyone enjoys?
They are Richard and Dorothy of Sweet Dreams.
No matter who comes to their door ..
they arrive to a warm welcome and leave well fed and rested.


all for now ..

Monday, February 21, 2011

Borscht Rollkuchen and Cinnamon Class


Going shopping at Lepp Farm Market took on a whole new meaning on Friday afternoon when we pulled into the parking lot at 4:30. With our list in our hands we went straight to their produce to gather the freshest produce and then to the dairy department to "buy British Columbia ".
Usually when I go there I mosey around the aisles looking for interesting products to try but on Friday we bee lined it back to their kitchen to start the borscht. 


Julie was our Borscht demonstrator for the evening and Bev was her assistant in chopping and moral support.


Charlotte Lepp (on the right) is the friendly  face of the market  and also the provider of confidence.
She gave us the "key" to her kitchen for the evening and left us to our chopping and preparations.


Borscht can not be cooked start to finish in only a few hours since good broth made by start takes time.
We worked around the time issue by cooking one pot of soup ahead of time so that the fragrance would greet the class as they walked in the door.


If you have heard the saying that many cooks spoil the broth ..
don't believe it.
If you can find some girls who are willing to share your kitchen full time. .
grab them. . .give them an apron and lock the door behind them.


Once we got going the fact that we had never cooked together before was all but forgotten.



We've learned that we all have our own way of doing things in life and in our kitchens and we're glad of it.
We don't need to be cookie cutter versions of each other. . .
we are simply thankful for the roles we play in each others lives. .
and learn from each other as we go.


OH. ..and the aprons were sort of new for us too.
You are the second ones to see them.
The class was the first.
If you want to see more of them. .
you'll need to buy a book.  ..
or come to a class.


Like Borscht. . .cinnamon buns need time too.
Kathy is the master sweet dough maker.
If you think you can make dough quicker with your machine than she can with her hands.  .
let me know.  ..I'd like to set up that challenge.



While we preparing our end of the evening.  .
the class was being set up.
They have enough room for half the class to sit at the counter and the rest of the class sit on high chairs at their tables.



There is no worry that they might no see what is happening in the pot. .
since they have overhead monitors to catch all the action.



While Kathy did a full batch of dough by hand. .
Anneliese did half a batch in the machine to demonstrate that technique.
They mixed in a certain style of synchronicity and I thought it a bit of a pity that music did not accompany their routine.


Once the dough was ready to rise.  ..
Kathy placed it in her bowl ..
and let everyone see just how smooooth. . .it should be. 


It was hard to see behind the scenes what they were always doing butt .. .
 I amused myself while I waited for my turn at the Rollkuchen dough.
I haven't any pictures of the Rollkuchen since that was my part of the demonstration.



When we announced crisp cold Watermelon to go with the rollkuchen ..
the class erupted in applause.
I had learned a not so humble and yet rather enjoyable technique from Chef Dez when we had taken in his class. After each menu item was handed out for us to sample.. he would in a louder than normal voice ask. . 
"so .. how is it?"  I liked his confidence in this question since he knew full well that no one would boo him out the door.  When something is tasty. . .you can go ahead and ask your guests "how is it".  .and then enjoy the applause and the murmuring of approval. 


Unless you have made homemade cinnamon buns you have something yet to try in life.
We asked the question and when some admitted they had never ever made cinnamon buns. . .we offered them several reasons why they should not delay.
I mentioned to the class that the scent of cinnamon in the home is often rather like a dab of perfume behind your ear to perk up your loved one. 


After the last of the class walked out the door. . .
we took our turn at the counter and enjoyed a bowl of hot borscht  .. .some rollkuchen and of course cinnamon buns for dessert.


We were told that we were free to go after we had eaten. ..and they would be happy to clean up.
We, being taught a thing or two by our own mothers.  ..
stayed and cleaned up our mess and debriefed and chatted away happily that our first ever cooking class had been a whole lot of fun.

Interested in learning to make Paska ..Zwieback and Green Bean Soup?
The information you need is right here.
all for now.  .

Friday, February 18, 2011

but can she do it blindfolded?



If you have been married as long as I have been. . .
you might need to think a moment to remember where you put your bridal memory book.
Do brides still do that? 
I recorded all the important bits of our engagement and even the very first grocery receipt from Safeway as a married couple.

Thinking about tonight and the Rollkuchen that I am in charge of demonstrating. . .
I remembered the bridal shower my sisters-by-love gave me.
My reputation for cookie making whether good or bad began in public on that evening when I did a performance of chocolate chip cookie making blindfolded in front of not only my family but also in front of my future mom .. .sister in law. ..aunts and cousins.

You can see my sister-in-law Ruby watching with amusement as I mixed cookie dough with gusto.
I remember they baked them up and offered them to my fiance when he came to pick me up.
He still married me.

Yesterday for supper my beloved was served Rollkuchen and Watermelon in February.
"never say never" I said as he walked into the kitchen.
As I had been rolling out the dough .. .I had been watching him through the kitchen window pruning our climbing hydrangea.  A proper Mennonite wife would have served him a bowl of Borscht with that rollkuchen but I was on a mission to be sure I had the recipe down pat.

I won't be taking my blindfold along this evening to cooking class.
I plan on having all my senses on full alert and if those fail me. . .
I'll just depend on my girls.


Thursday, February 17, 2011

pee wee's


 

Yesterday. ..  I sent a text to Grandgirlies house to check on her recovery from her tummy troubles.
With extraordinary promptness. . .
the answer came back that indeed she had recovered and was feeling particularly ambitious and it seemed that a change of scenery was in order.

So ..I picked her up and we headed into the hen house since we heard that the spring hens are beginning to lay.
We thought we might gather up some pee wee eggs for our lunch.

 

Pee wee eggs are fantastically well shelled and are good eggs for beginner bakers.
They hardly ever break when they are dropped.
When they do break. . .the egg whites are so well shaped that one sheet of paper towel picks it up for a quick clean up.

 

As I mentioned earlier. ..Grandgirlie was feeling ambitious and with her usual enthusiasm. ..she  has a fantastic ability to move continuously so when I asked her to hold her hands still while Grammie did flashless photography. . .
she said. . ."okay grammie" while she held her hands very still and danced with her feet.

I helped her gently tap the eggs on the counter but she reminded me she could divide the eggs apart and drop the contents into a custard cup. 
I aim to have all the grands cracking eggs like a pro by the time they start kindergarten.
I haven't checked kindergarten curriculum's lately but no grand of mine will be caught unable to crack open an egg.
 

My newest cookbook investment is one that you will hear me referring to in the coming days.
The Amish Cook's Baking Book is filled with love and inspiration and the recipes and the photos had me inspired before I tested the first one.



The Amish cooks  World's Best Sugar Cookies had to be tested and since it seemed her children could manage helping . . .
I only reasoned that my wee sous chef could too.



She did just fine. . ..dipping her glass into the sugar bowl to press down her cookies.



The cookies were quite tasty. . .
if we did say so ourselves.

She took home "her" pan. . .which included a good addition of sprinkles to show her sister Little Miss Muffet.

After a lunch of some fresh from the hen house eggs and brown toast. . .
she said she was ready it was time to take her  home.

When I arrived back home. . .
I straightened out the kitchen and tidied away the books. . .
and called my beloved in for a hot cup of coffee.

A morning well spent.

all for now. . .

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

proofing and planning




It is hard to come up with new posts when the previous day was not unlike the one before that.
What you can't see is the slow progression towards the end. . .
each day we are closer to the day we will hold the book in our hands.

 Yesterday we spent time preparing for cooking class on Friday . .
while life might be rather predictable . ..we are not bored around here.
The girls and I are emailing back and forth to come up with a "smooth program".
We shudder at the remembrance of Chef Dez chatting it up seamlessly while he produced delicious bits for us to taste.
The good news is that we will be entertaining and not necessarily because we aim to be.

We're pretty excited about the class.
Every opportunity is just that. .an opportunity to do something in life that we haven't done before and might not ever do again.
Isn't it just wonderful that life is not dull unless we allow it to be?

all for now. .