Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Laughter IS the best medicine

There's a baby food commercial full of laughing babies. I can't find it on YouTube, to share...but needless to say, every time I see the video I find myself laughing along.

There is something about the awesome belly laugh of a baby to keep me smiling.

While I couldn't find the commercial, I did find this terrific video:

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Popovers

Here's a recipe I recently tried. I've done some reading and have discovered that many believe that popovers are the same as yorkshire pudding. This may be so. However, I actually made lemon popovers...I don't know if that constitutes yorkshire pudding!

Popovers more than double in size, and when cooked right have a crisp exterior with a soft and hollow interior.

The directions for lemon popovers are found in the 'variations' section at the bottom.

Popovers
2 eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup milk (I substitute almond, rice or soy milk)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). Grease and flour six 6-ounce custard cups.

In a medium bowl beat room temperature eggs slightly, Beat in flour, room temperature milk, baking powder and salt until just smooth; being careful not to overbeat. Fill custard cups, muffin tins, or ramekins 1/2 full.

Bake at 450 degrees F for 20 minutes. Decrease oven temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) and bake for 20 minutes more. 

Remove popovers from the oven, and unmold onto a rack. Pierce the sides with the tip of a sharp knife to let steam escape (this will keep the exterior crisp, the interior moist, and prevent the popovers from collapsing), and serve immediately with lots of butter.
Variations:
Exchange the milk for lemon juice and top with lemon honey butter. (lemon honey butter can be made with equal parts lemon juice and honey and butter...or use half of the amount of lemon juice if you don't enjoy the tartness)

Thursday, 24 March 2011

What pen do you use?

I am a pen snob.
I only like to use specific pens....and will do just about anything to ensure that I don't have to use what I consider to be a substandard pen. That means that I often have at least two pens in my purse, another two in my briefcase, some by the bed, some at my desk....you get the picture. I also hide my pens. My good pens aren't for just anyone to pick up when they need one, I have some of those ones that I don't like for that!

The pens I like are extra fine. The finer the better. They have black ink and don't make blobs.

I like the sound of the fine point of the pen scratching across the crisp white paper.
 
A fountain pen would probably give me the ultimate point, but whenever I try one I usually get ink on my fingers. 
 
My current favourite is made by Pilot. It isn't the finest point I've ever used, but it has the nicest writing point.
 
What kind of pen do you use?

Monday, 21 March 2011

Choice

A leader’s role is to raise people’s aspirations for what they can become and to release their energies so they will try to get there. ~ David R. Gergen

Friday, 18 March 2011

Lemon Squares

Like most kids who grew up before the 80s, my mom belonged to many clubs, including a bridge club. That also meant that at least once a month our house would host an evening bridge night.

Invariably, this also meant that along with helping to do some extra cleaning there was often baking cooling on the counter when we got home from school the night of the event. Baking that we were to keep our hands off of. 

One of my favourite desserts...or squares, or dainties as they were often called was a Lemon Square. The lemon square was that perfect combination of mouth puckering tartness and lovely sweetness.

I really like to cook with lemons and recently I decided I'd make this old standby.

Lemon Squares
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup confectioners'/icing sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 lemons, juiced
4 Tbsp lemon zest

in the oven, ready to cook

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

In a medium bowl, blend together softened butter, 2 cups flour, confectioners' sugar and 2 Tbsp of the lemon zest. Press into the bottom of an ungreased 9x13 inch pan.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven, or until firm and golden. In another bowl, whisk together the remaining 1 1/2 cups sugar, lemon zest and 1/4 cup flour. Whisk in the eggs and lemon juice. Pour over the baked crust.

4.Bake for an additional 20 minutes in the preheated oven.

The squares will firm up as they cool.

After pan has cooled, cut into uniform 2 inch squares and serve.

Optional, sprinkle confectioners' sugar over the squares after cutting


Lemony goodness.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Books, Books and more Books!

A few weeks ago I posted  some pictures of my first book.

While I haven't come up with the words that I want to put into my books, I've been having some fun trying different techniques with the paint and textures.

I've got some pictures of more of my books....some are better than others. 

A look at the inside pages


This book has a garden, sunshine theme. This is the front cover that I painted


This is my snowflake book. I put a few small pictures of our trip to the northern cabin inside.

This is a piercing cradle that my husband built for me.
It allows you to keep your signatures and folios (Pages) steady.


The piercing cradle with a page waiting for me to put the holes in for sewing the pages together.
A sewn together book waiting for the next steps....glue and a cover
My starry night book...sewn together, painted, ready for some words and a cover.

I have lots of other ideas and am having fun trying them.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Teen Love?

I know that I'm not the only one who discovered him at 12 years of age. I am likely not the only girl who fell in love with him and believed for a few short months that she would marry him.

I know that I first realized I wouldn't marry him because of our age and geographical differences...

Of course, there are many who will also point out the issue of sexual preference, but by the time I learned that my fantasy marriage was already a thing of the past.

What has never disappeared is my great love for his music.

As an adult I learned of people who had seen him in concert and I wished I could be so lucky....but what was the likelihood that he would ever visit our prairie city?

Lucky for me, some fantasies do become realities. I saw him in Saskatoon a few years ago, and then in Regina more recently. AND...I will see him again in May.

While I will know with my adult mind that he is singing to the entire audience, for a few short hours he will be performing only for me. Ever the consumate performer, it will be a show to remember.

Looking forward to Elton John!

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Engaged Learning...Better Employees

A friend sent me this video. It is an interesting look at learning, as well as how it connects to the workplace.

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Snow

Winter brings frosty mornings, frozen breath, crunchy snow, powdery snow, icicles, and snowmen.

I love the crisp fresh air of winter mornings. I like the way that frost paints its own outlines on trees and branches, fences and buildings.



At our camp in Northern Saskatchewan we enjoyed the beauty of winter. 


Friday, 4 March 2011

What do you do?

In the Feb. 28 edition of the Daily Telegraph, Daniel Pink has an editorial: "Think Tank: Ever felt like your job isn't what you were born to do?"

His editorial questions the common idea that we need to have passion for what we do, and that we must love what we do. It's not that we shouldn't have these things, but Pink also suggests that there is more to having passion for a job.
 
In his editorial, Pink also refers to Gretchen Rubin's The Happiness Project, a book based on the year she spent in her own happiness project.

Pink's editorial and his books: Drive and  A Whole New Brain as well as Rubin's The Happiness Project, are all must reads!


Many people have done what Daniel Pink suggests we do. Whether they are newer ventures such as the two listed below, or family owned businesses that flourish over the generations:
The husband and wife team of Koko's Patissiere (the picture links to their site)

Valley Girl's Catering run by a team of 5 women and that now boasts 3 restaurants.

Iannone's Footwear and Shoe Clinic (they don't have a website), but there is an article about this family run business in our local paper.

Avenue Garage, a family run business that used to run out of a home garage, moved into downtown building and has since expanded.

Those are just a few I can think of right now, there are many more.