The Best Volunteer Job

….bread making 

Now that may not be your cup of tea but for me it’s fun and it helps support activities at Montgomery’s Inn (an 1840s-era inn operated as a museum by Toronto Cultural Services at 4709 Dundas St W (at Islington Ave) in Etobicoke, Ontario, 416-394-8113, montinn@toronto.ca.).

Every Tuesday I go to the inn to help prepare the dough for six to seven different types of bread. There are no preservatives in the bread and most of them are made with specific  bread flours that are ordered from specialty mills. I’m usually in the kitchen for about 2 1/2 to 3 hours.

On Wednesday I return to the inn where anywhere from four to seven volunteers shape the dough, fire up the outdoor brick oven, prepare two sourdough breads and one or two batches of focaccia. Wednesdays is always a longer day because it takes anywhere from two to three bakes to get all the bread baked and ready for the Farmers’ Market where a another group of volunteers sell the bread. Typically on Wednesday we’re there for five to six hours and lunch is always prepared for us by our ‘boss’ who makes some of the most amazing meals from scratch (homemade soups and stews, sausages with homemade buns, pasta and salads, baked beans, etc.).

This week I took some photos of our beautiful and delicious bread.IMG-2658
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Happy Victoria Day

….to all my fellow Canadians

As far as long weekends go this one was pretty uneventful. Daughter number two went up to the camp to continue cleaning out their cabin that they’ll be living in this summer but they only stayed one night. The black flies are pretty bad this time of year and it was cold.

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On Saturday I got some gardening down and cleaned out part of a flower bed and trimmed back the Rose of Sharon and the ornamental grass. Even though it was warm enough to garden without a jacket it wasn’t warm enough to sit outside without a jacket to enjoy a cup of coffee.

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On Sunday daughter number one and our daughter-in-law came over to drop off their dog, Olive so that they could camping in a yurt up in Tobermory. While they were there my husband felt well enough to make a fabulous dinner that he had seen on Jamie Oliver’s show, Dinner in 30 Minutes. This is a photo of the salad he made with fresh mozzarella, prosciutto, roasted peaches, olives and salad greens.IMG-2326

Olive seemed to settle in quite nicely and she certainly made herself right at home when her mommies left. Unfortunately night time was a bit rough and I ended up sleeping on the couch with her until 4:30 in the morning and then my husband took over.

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Today started out promising but the winds picked up and the temperatures  were well below normal. Later in the day I bundled up and took the dogs for two separate walks. Frances would only let me take her around the block but Olive went five times as far. We ended up in Col. Sam Smith Park. The water levels are still high and one of the pathways was completely under water.IMG-2346

No sunburn or tanning this long weekend but the good news is that I walked over 13000 steps today. How was everyone else’s weekend.?

Share Your World – July 23, 2018

…thanks to Cee for hosting Share Your World

In regards to puzzle what’s your choice: jigsaw, crossword, word search, mazes, logic or numeric puzzles, something else, or nothing?

My favourite puzzle is Sudoku.

List at least five favorite treats and it doesn’t necessarily have to be food.

I like to treat myself to the following:

A premium ice-cream in a cup

A manicure and pedicure

A good movie

An evening out with friends

A nice glass of wine with my husband

A piece of torte with my father (he loves his cake)

A slice of freshly baked bread slathered with butter

What is your favorite type of dog? (can be anything from a specific breed, a stuffed animal or character in a movie)

My favourite dog is hands down a golden retriever. I’ve owned two in my lifetime. We now have a mutt who is definitely my husband’s dog. He’s always said that the goldens were my dogs and Frances is his. (Scully is 15 years old in this photo and Frances is going on 12)

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What did you appreciate or what made you smile this past week?  Feel free to use a quote, a photo, a story, or even a combination. 

This was a very special week because my son was visiting from London, England. There was a lot of eating and drinking, touring museums and art galleries, visiting his sister in Hamilton and attending a rugby game.

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Share Your World – October 16, 2017

…… thanks Cee for hosting Share Your World

If you had to move to a country besides the one you currently live in, where would you move and why? 

I think I would move to Italy, in the hills of Tuscany or Assisi. I loved the serenity while I was there but I might miss being close to water.

What color would you like your bedroom to be?

I’ve lived with this horrible grey for so long and I agonized over what colour to replace it with.  I’ve purchased a rich cream colour but the thought of having to move everything to paint over this dreary grey has held me back.

What makes you Happy? Make a list of things in your life that bring you joy.

  1. My husband and children and granddaughter
  2. My friends
  3. Making Art
  4. Taking photographs
  5. My cottage
  6. Talking to and visiting my sisters
  7. Travelling with my husband
  8. Baking for my father
  9. Reading a good book
  10. Listening to great music

What inspired you or what did you appreciate this past week?  Feel free to use a quote, a photo, a story, or even a combination. 

I’ve appreciated the warm temperatures that we’ve experienced this past week. October  has had all kinds of weather but it’s been mostly warm. Even on overcast days I’ve been able to get out for my walks with the dog and take some great photos.

I got together with some friends last week. I think the one thing about being retired that I miss is the daily interaction with colleagues, so when I do get together with friends it’s extra special, even if it’s just to talk and do some errands together.

Every week I try to get to Hamilton to spend time with our granddaughter, Winnie, and give her mother a bit of a break. Last week she let me take her for a walk down her street   after the three of us shared a treat at the local coffee shop.

I always appreciate when my husband cooks dinner, which is most of the time but last week he made pizzas from scratch, which he hasn’t done for awhile. We weren’t sure how Dad would like the fig and mozzarella pizza so he made two different pizzas. Dad loved both of them.

 

Easter With the Family

This year we celebrated our Easter Sunday on Saturday. Our daughter and son-in-law in Hamilton invited us over for an Easter dinner of lamb ragu. We invited my niece who is working in Toronto and our oldest daughter and my daughter-in-law drove to our house, where we all jammed into one car and made the 40 minute drive to Hamilton. IMG_1668

The day started out very rainy but in the afternoon the sun came out and we experienced an early summer day. We spent a good deal of time outside without jackets and went for a nice walk to the park down the street. My niece had never been to G’s place and she enjoyed hearing stories of being pregnant and she saw first hand what it can be like raising a toddler. She’s due to have her first child in August.

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Our granddaughter is always a little shy around new people and even her grandparents who she hasn’t seen too much of this winter because of illness on both sides. It didn’t take long though before she warmed up to her cousin, once removed and they engaged in a game of peek-a-boo in the backyard.

For Easter this year I bought Winnie a garden set because she likes to help her father   clean and plant flowers in the the garden bed.  I knew she’d love the watering can because she loves anything to do with water. When I showed her how it worked she let out a shriek of joy and came running to her Oma. For the next hour or so she kept busy watering the garden and herself.

After spending some time in the garden and walking to the park we enjoyed a very nice dinner. Our son-in-law made the pasta from scratch and the ragu had cooked most of the day. We were in charge of dessert so my husband called up one of his favourite clients who works in an Italian bakery and asked her for advice on what dessert we should bring for an Easter dinner.

She quickly recommended a pastiera, a south Italian Easter tradition. It’s a wheat and ricotta pie flavoured with orange blossom water and adorned with a lattice top. Yum!IMG_1666

Today I’ll be spending time with a friend whose partner went into the hospital yesterday. He’ll be there for a few days as the doctors try to figure out what kind of treatment he will need.

I hope everyone had an enjoyable Sunday. Lucky me, I get one more day off tomorrow. Time to get the snow tires off the car.

 

Shopping, Shopping and More Shopping

….after our long walk this morning we decided to go out and buy food for the weekend

Not any old food, mind you. We were shopping for food for our family get together on Sunday. Four of us are driving to Hamilton to celebrate Family Day at G’s and B’s home (parents of Winnie). I suggested that we do a pot luck lunch and everyone quickly agreed.

Our contribution is going to be a charcuterie platter and then some smoked pork chops, German style (Kassler rippchen). To get all the ingredients we needed we drove out to Mississauga and went to the Brandt Meat store. What a treat for all the senses.

We left with 5 different meats and three cheeses for the platter, 8 smoked pork chops and meatloaf for tonight’s dinner. As we got back into the car we decided that potato salad would be a nice addition to the chops so I went back inside and bought a few containers of ready to eat salad.

Hard to imagine that I couldn’t find everything that we needed in this one amazing store but we did need milk, cream, fruit, vegetables and dog food so we made another stop at our go to No Frills grocery story just down the road from our home. I love the produce aisles in this store. It is so bright and colourful and everything is very fresh.

After we loaded up the car with more groceries than we had planned to buy my husband thought of another thing we forgot to pick up. Batteries. Instead of going back into the same store he suggested that I go over to the Dollarama which was next door.

Here’s another store that appeals to the eyes. Bright and colourful and kind on the pocketbook. The line-up was pretty long so I decided to take a quick look around and took a few more photos of some of the merchandise. You can tell that St. Patrick’s Day and Easter are just around the corner.

The teacher in me wanted to buy numerous items for my classes but I resisted temptation. Besides my husband was waiting in the car and if I had returned with anything but batteries he would have given me a questioning gaze.

As soon as we got home we put away the groceries and I started dinner. For those of you who know me well I did it voluntarily and without any coercion from my husband. Once in awhile I still like to cook.

Hope you’re all having a fantastic weekend. Mine is just beginning. Hopefully I’ll have more photos and stories about our Family Day get together tomorrow.

Cheers!

Happy Birthday, Valentine’s Day and Family Day

….for my friend Maria all the good stuff comes together in less than a week

This week my friend Maria celebrated her birthday and was finally well enough to have company. She recently had her hip replaced (her second one) and didn’t recover as quickly as with the first one; however, this week she was finally receiving visitors. In honour of her birthday I decided to bake her some cookies and bought her a nice new mug, some tea and candy. I also collected some of my favourite novels that I’ve read in the past year or so and put them in a bag for her to pull out and read at her leisure.

Over at Life in Between my blogging friend, Jodi posted a wonderful recipe for Amish Oatmeal Raisin cookies and I was very eager to try it. The instructions were easy to follow and the recipe made  four dozen very large cookies. My husband loves oatmeal raisin cookies and the only fault he found with these was that there weren’t enough raisins. Easy solution; just add more next time. I, however, found the amount to be perfect. This recipe is a little different from most oatmeal cookies because it has molasses in it and that’s why the colour is darker.

I packed a dozen cookies into a small disposable loaf pan and placed it inside a special translucent bag with hearts on the outside. I then placed them into a square basket that I had purchased and placed the other items (tea, mug, candy) next to the bag.

Before making my way to Maria’s house I decided to make her a card. I took some watercolour paper and watercolour markers and created a simple design to acknowledge her birthday, St. Valentine’s Day, Family Day and a speedy recovery.

In the end I had a very nice visit with my good friend. Her husband spoiled us with wine to start, a plate of cheese and then before I left he made us tea and we enjoyed some of the cookies that I had baked.

If the cookies interest you be sure to check out Jodi’s recipe over at Life in Between.

Cheers and have a wonder Valentine’s Day!