Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Poetic Toothfairy

I'm not sure if there are local toothfairies or if they are individually assigned to families, but my children have had one that always wrote a note of encouragement or thanks and included a tooth-related poem. I think my kids are finished with losing their teeth, so I think it's safe to put up this sample of a letter and poem that I recently found in my son's room. In the letter, the fairy tries to explain why she neglected to receive the offered tooth for a week or so.

Dear Daniel,

I'm very sorry it has taken so long to collect your tooth. There has been a Fairy strike the last few weeks. Some of the fairies (not me, of course) were complaining about how overworked they were, and how dangerous it was to flit about at night. I could tell you more, but it's a long story! Here's a poem, though.

There once were some fairies on strike,
They thought they would just take a hike.
You might ask, "but why?",
And they would just sigh,
That no one knows what it's like.

Now they are back as you see,
And their hearts are full of glee,
As they gather their "pearls"
From the boys and girls
From sea to shining sea.

Thank you for the nice tooth!

The Tooth Fairy

Monday, April 5, 2010

Thai Cold Spring Rolls

Thai Cold Spring Rolls

Anything goes inside the rolls, but I would most likely always include the carrot mixture, some sort of meat or egg, and some sort of leaf (spinach or lettuce) or bean sprouts. The recipe I use doesn’t call for rice vermicelli noodles, but we’ve always used them in the filling. Another must for us is the Chinese Peeanut Sauce for dipping!

These rolls can be made up slightly ahead for serving, or they can be assembled at the table (my kids prefer to fill their own).

Carrot mixture:
1 or 2 cups of carrots, grated
½ tsp black pepper
2 Tbsp sugar
3 Tbsp rice vinegar
½ tsp salt

Some filling ideas:
chicken breast sliced thin
spinach, lettuce or bean sprouts
egg yolks fried and julienned
(rice vermicelli noodles, cooked)

-Mix carrot, pepper, salt, sugar and vinegar; reserve.
-Prepare all the other filling items.
-Briefly soak the rice papers in very hot water just until they begin to soften.
-Layer all ingredients on the rice paper and roll. Serve with peanut sauce.
**Don’t refrigerate before serving as they will harden.

Chinese Peanut Sauce (from Moosewood Cookbook, Mollie Katzen)

½ cup good peanut butter
½ cup hot water
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp sugar
2 or 3 medium cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp cider vinegar
1 to 2 Tbsp minced fresh cilantro (I’ve omitted sometimes; still good)
cayenne to taste
salt to taste (if peanut butter is unsalted)

1) Place peanut butter in a small bowl. Add the hot water, and stir patiently with a spoon or a small whisk until uniformly mixed.
2) Stir in remaining ingredients and mix well. Cover tightly and refrigerate. Let come to room temperature before serving.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Christmas Treats!

It has become a tradition to bake these every year with the occasional addition of something new. This year Esther wants to try truffles! Pictured above are Pecan tassies (the little tarts), Belgian Tree Sandwiches, and Baklava. I'm glad to share the recipes because they are yummy and festive and because in two out of the three treats, recipes were generously shared with me!

One tip is to always use butter for these recipes!



Belgian Sandwich Cookies
: 1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups unsifted flour
1 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp baking soda

Filling: Raspberry jam (not sugar reduced)

Icing: 2 cups icing sugar
2 Tbsp milk (or more)
1 tsp vanilla

Cream butter, sugar and egg until light and fluffy. Add extract and beat briefly to blend. In a small bowl, stir together flour, cream of tartar and baking soda. Pour flour mixture into creamed mixture. Work in flour until smooth ball is formed. Roll dough into a large rectangle, 1/8" thick.
Cut with cookie cutters and place 1" apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350' oven for 8-12 minutes or until bottoms are a light golden colour. Remove to a wire rack. When cookies are fully cooled, spread bottom of one cookie with a thin layer of jam. Top with bottom of another cookie, repeat.

In small bowl, with spreader or small spatula, combine icing ingredients to make a thick glaze. With flat spreader, apply glaze on top of each cookie just to the edge.
Must be stored in fridge or freezer.
Makes at least 24 (I usually get about 3 dozen)



1 lb phyllo dough (the original recipe says 1 ½ but the boxes come in 1 lb size and I use 1)
1 lb roasted, chopped nuts (I use walnuts, or pecans and almonds)
6 oz butter, melted (7 oz if using 1 ½ lb dough)
½ cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

2 cups sugar
¾ cup water
1 ½ Tbsp lemon juice
½ tsp cinnamon

Mix nuts with sugar & cinnamon and set aside.

Divide dough into 3 approximately equal parts (keep the remaining dough covered with a damp towel to prevent drying). Line a greased large cookie sheet with 1/3 of the dough, brushing each sheet with melted butter.

Sprinkle half of the nut mixture over the dough

Continue with the next third of the dough, buttering each layer, then sprinkle the remaining nut mixture on top. Layer on the final third of the dough and butter.

Cut dough into diamonds or rectangles, being careful not to cut all the way through! Drizzle any remaining butter on top. Bake in preheated oven (350’) for 45 minutes, until golden.

Cut pieces through to allow to cool. Boil syrup ingredients together until thick. Pour over baklava. Keeps for several days.


Pecan Tassies

2 cups flour
6 oz cream cheese
½ pound butter

Mix crust ingredients. Form walnut sized balls and press into small muffin tins (pans can be sprayed or lightly oiled).

3 eggs
2 Tbsp butter, melted
1 cup chopped pecans
2 Tbsp vanilla1-1/2 cup brown sugar

Mix together nuts, brown sugar, eggs, butter and vanilla. Fill each cup with about one teaspoon of filling. Bake for 25 minutes at 350’. I wait about 2 to 5 minutes, then twist the tarts gently before easing them out of the pan. Let cool on a rack.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Feathery Reunion

A few weeks ago as we were driving to church, we saw field after field of Snow Geese and Blue Phase Snow Geese. We stopped the car and I walked out towards them as they all lifted into the air. It was stunning! Later, we got out the camera and tried to capture that moment. Unfortunately, the winds were gusting to 70 km/h and it was extremely hard to hold the camera still enough. I hope you can still enjoy this short video of a beautiful prairie moment!


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Toccata and Fugue in d minor

My son, Daniel, found this excellent animation of the Toccata and Fugue in d minor. It is mesmerizing, beautiful and intuitive. I'm convinced that an organist needs at least 3 brains to play such music! Enjoy.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Zucchinis anyone?

I assume that I'm not the only person who is enjoying a bountiful harvest of zucchini! I love trying new ways to serve them. Here is a recipe that I tried recently. I've had the recipe card for years and have forgotten where I got it from, yet I had never tried it until this summer. It is delicious! It's similar to a ratatouille. It was nice to use my homegrown tomatoes and zucchini for this!

Zucchini in Tomato Sauce

6 medium zucchini, or 12 small

3 Tbsp olive oil

3/4 cup chopped onion

2 minced garlic cloves

2 peeled and chopped tomatoes

1 diced red pepper

1/2 cup diced green pepper

1/2 tsp brown sugar

1/2 cup chopped olives

3 Tbsp tomato paste

1/2 cup water

salt and pepper to taste

pinch of thyme

Prepare zucchini. In a large, deep pot heat oil and fry onions and garlic for about 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add peppers and chopped tomatoes and fry for 3 minutes. Sprinkle with sugar and stir. Add zucchini. Cover and cook over low-medium heat for 15 minutes, turning occasionally. Stir in olives, tomato paste, and water and cook uncovered to evaporate some liquid until vegetables are soft.


Saturday, September 5, 2009

Hava Nagila

Here is something I did a couple of years ago when I was desperate for a choral "fix"! I learned 3 of the 4 parts (too hard for me to sing a believable bass line) and recorded it. The hopefully not too annoying thing about it is the metronome sound throughout to help me keep the rhythm for the counterpoint and syncopation. Maybe one day I'll try it again and tidy it up, but perhaps you'll enjoy a quick listen of Hava Nagila! Please excuse the out-of-shape voice as well!!

*Hava Nagila means approximately "let us rejoice"