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Thursday, January 2, 2014

Couch potato time



Do you subscribe to Netflix? The captain and I have been Netflix customers for about a year now and while we don't actually watch it often, we appreciate its service. We do think the Netflix offerings in the US are superior, with such a greater variety of shows and movies, but we're not unhappy with Netflix Canada. And now we're even happier.

Earlier today, on a whim, I logged into Netflix to see if they're offering Call the Midwife yet. This is a British series that Leslie told me about last year -- the first two seasons of it were on Netflix US but not here in Canada. After reading online this morning that the series was into its third season, I tried to find it on PBS On-Demand but it was not listed. So, expecting disappointment, I pulled up Netflix Canada and lo and behold, there was Call the Midwife, seasons one and two! I was very pleased. I also found Downton Abbey on Netflix Canada (I'm probably the last person on the planet who hasn't watched this series yet), as well as many of the wonderful Ken Burns documentaries.

Now we just need to stock up on snacks and we're all set!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Sunday, December 29, 2013

The Ice Storm of 2013



Somebody should be selling "I survived the Ice Storm of 2013" shirts -- just about everyone I know would buy one, because just about everyone I know has suffered from the storm and has lived to tell the tale. Some have suffered a little, some a lot. The captain and I were without power for about 55 hours or so, from 2 a.m. early Sunday morning until about 9 a.m. Tuesday morning (Christmas Eve). Not fun at any time to be without power in sub-zero temperatures, but particularly hard when one is sick, as I have been (and still am). I didn't get many "icy" photographs; I was too ill to venture outside so had to settle for a few quickie shots out my living room window.

The captain's older sister didn't get her power back until 9 p.m. Christmas Day, and his brother lives in an area of east Toronto known as The Guild, or Guildwood, which has been one of the last areas to have power restored. As of now, we are not sure if they have their power back or not. Yesterday, they did not.

It has been most frustrating listening to our idiot mayor show up at press conferences and photo ops, all the while lying to everyone. He and his cronies have been talking for days now about how the power restoration was down to "one offs", while everyone here in Scarborough knew the entire Guild area was without power. That is NOT a "one off", Mr. Mayor!

I also question their claim that the city and hydro were immediately on top of this. You see, our neighbour's boyfriend works for Toronto Hydro and he wasn't called in until Monday morning, a good 30 hours or more after the power went out! Personally, I think there have been cost-cutting measures and a reluctance to rack up employee overtime that took precedence over getting the power up and running. The priority has never been service to the tax payers, all the talk from this administration has only been about saving a buck or two.

But enough on that. This is the season to be jolly, after all. The captain and I both send along our merriest of Christmas greetings to one and all, and a particularly big shout-out to all our friends and family who weathered the storm that will live long in all our memory. 2013 is certainly going out with a bang!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

It's December!



I must be getting terribly old because the days, weeks and months just seem to fly by; it's hard to believe that the last month of 2013 has arrived. But indeed it has and so it's time to truly get into the festive spirit -- the holiday decorations may hit the stores in September, but I don't think of it as being Christmastime until December.

I have a vast collection of vintage Christmas images I've collected over the years, including the one above, originally a business-themed Christmas card. I'll try to share several of them here as we count down to December 25th. I love all vintage images, but the Christmas ones are so special. I hope you like them too.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Autumn baking



The calendar has changed, it's now autumn, and I think that must trigger some sort of subconscious urge to bake. Leslie made a yummy-looking pie and I've been thinking about pumpkin bread. Thinking about it, even bought a tin of pumpkin, but instead I found myself in the kitchen early this afternoon, baking raisin bran muffins.

I know they're healthy and one of those good-for-you foods, but that's not why I bake them. I happen to think raisin bran muffins are delicious! The recipe I use is the only one that I consider a success -- using natural bran instead of bran breakfast cereal is the key, I think. You can find my recipe HERE, at Food.com (formerly Recipezaar, which was a far better site), where I have several of my recipes stashed online. Hover your mouse pointer over my name (it's just below the recipe title) and you'll be able to click on a link to see all the recipes I have posted there.

A bag of natural bran is very inexpensive, although it can be a quest to find it in your local grocery store. In various stores I have seen it located in the baking aisle, with the breakfast cereals, with the oatmeal, and in the natural foods/health food area. I recommend you stash it in the freezer for long-term storage.

I've been doing some other cooking over the last few days, no pictures though. If you visit my boards on Pinterest, you'll see a new one called "Glad I Pinned It!!" and that's where you'll see a pin for a wonderful stovetop macaroni and cheese I whipped up a few days ago, as well as some yummy chickpea patties I made yesterday.

The above image is definitely a little artsy-fartsy for a food photo, so here's a more normal photograph of today's bran muffins. As you can see, I don't use paper liners in my muffin tins -- I find they rise higher without them. I just spray the pans with Pam. I missed hearing the timer and so this batch was in the oven about a minute or two too long; they're still yummy and tender, but the exteriors did get a wee bit overdone. Next time I'll set two timers!

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