Sunday, August 24, 2014

Flowers and Food (Gluten-Free)



It's a treat to spend time with a friend that you haven't seen in quite some time. My recent guest has celiac disease and, therefore, has to eat gluten-free food. It turned out to be fun planning a lunch menu for us.

A crustless spinach and mushroom quiche was the main event; alas, no photo.  Perhaps you're familiar with the "quiche formula" found in Mollie Katzen's "The Enchanted Broccoli Forest". I don't know if the formula is online, but the link will take you to her wonderful vegetarian cookbook; I just omitted the step involving a crust. With Katzen's crust/filling/custard formula, there are a million and one variations for a quiche.






As a side dish, some yellow beans and fresh tomatoes from the garden became an easy salad; I'll have to try the suggested dressing next time. Not being sure if my friend was sensitive to vinegar, I didn't make the one in the recipe. (What are the odds that she would bring flowers that coordinated with the food?)

A second side was sweet potato and pear puree. The dark bits are toasted pecans which started off sprinkled on top and were happily mixed into the leftovers. For the record, I am a fan of leftovers. Delish! It's cooking for one in this household and if I can open the fridge or freezer and find a tasty little something there, it's a happy day.




I'm not, generally, much of a dessert eater, but that's not to say I don't enjoy one occasionally. Plenty of chocolate, sugar and eggs went into this flourless chocolate cake. Cheryl at The Creative Me and My McG., this is the recipe you requested. Or, you can swing over; there are leftovers in the freezer. Bring a friend!


I mentioned on Facebook that I was going to show a dessert in this blog post and a reader's comment said that was interesting, but ". . . please, always some flowers." No fear, there will be plenty of those till the season changes! 

I'm happy to be linking with Judith for "Mosaic Monday".
Have a lovely week.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

A Few Changes

There has been plenty of rain this summer. Flowers are flourishing, bees are buzzing and beans are bountiful. San Marzano, Sweet 100, and Austin Pear tomatoes are ripening on the vines. When sautéed and served with an egg on toast for breakfast, all three varieties are delicious.



August is a time for change; flowers become fruit and vegetables, great swaths of rudbeckia dance in the breeze, and the nights get cooler with each passing day.

Another change is the recent movement of Mosaic Monday from Mary's Little Red House to Judith's Lavender Cottage. Many thanks to Mary for creating and hosting the gathering for several years and to Judith for offering to continue this regular event.
Have a lovely week.
~Karen


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

A Few Blooms and Maybe Curry Later



Where does the time go? It's the middle of August already and the bathroom hasn't been repainted, nor has the stairwell to the basement been patched up and made a bit less of an eyesore. A house that is about 62 years old always has a few little quirks and jobs to be done. I suppose any home does, in fact.


Maybe I've been misled by the clematis as to how much of the summer is left. It generally blooms early in the season, then not another flower shows itself until the next year. This clematis grows along with the New Dawn rose on my arbour. I hacked ("pruning" would suggest more care and skill) both down to about a foot high in the spring when I did some repairs and re-staining of the wooden structure. The plants are close to 6 feet by now. For a glimpse of how things looked last year, you can find a photo in the right hand margin of this blog.




A favourite plant is the red dipladenia that was given to me as a birthday gift last May. Behind it are a few herbs that have flowered and, in the distance, a very large hydrangea. It is Very Large and, as well, a prolific bloomer.




I picked up a packet of nasturtium seeds and planted them this year. Blooms in four colours have made their appearance. Daisies and coneflowers have decorated my desk; I thought I'd pick a few nasturtiums this time and I do like their sunny, uplifting colours. Orange was the favourite colour of a dear friend of mine and I've grown very fond of its vibrance and happy energy!

Speaking of vibrance and colourful energy, I treated myself to a movie last evening. Have you seen "The Hundred-Foot Journey"? I got quite wrapped up in it and now have the urge to eat wonderful Indian food in a small village in the south of France. The film made me think of dreams, travel, relationships, love and food! 

I digress. Cleaning awaits. And, perhaps, a bit of a search for a curry recipe.

Enjoy your day.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Butterflies and Claire-the-Foster-Puss's Next Chapter

Unlike last year, it is easy to spot butterflies in my garden this summer.




In particular, they favour a big clump of purple coneflowers.




I've very little skill in identifying what is what and found myself looking up the differences between Viceroys and Monarchs.


Monarch, yes?




I think this is a Red Admiral.



Another, with its open wings, allows you to  better see the colour pattern.


With a bit of beautiful blue, a Black Swallowtail made an appearance. I hadn't noticed it before and hope it returns.



Moving on, this will be the last picture you'll see of Claire, the puss that moved in as my foster last February. After application forms, a Meet and Greet, an Extended Home Visit, and more forms, some wonderful people finalized their adoption of beautiful Claire last week.

If you've ever thought of fostering an animal, whether or not you already have a furry friend of your own, I encourage you to look into that possibility in your community.

Some people have said they could never "give up" an animal after having it in their home. For me, to not "give up" on Claire meant loving and caring for her until a wonderful home was found. I can't take on a pet full time, but I could do this.

As the website of the group I worked with points out:
"If you have ever said, 'It’s so sad, but there’s nothing I can do.' Well, fortunately, you can do something." 

Just one cat, you might say, but Claire's story has a happy ending.

Wishing you a lovely week,
Karen

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Odds and Ends


Another rainfall today is no doubt helping my tomato plants grow more productive and allowing the weeds to get an even stronger toehold in the garden beds. It will be a good day to get some things done indoors.



These unusually shaped tomatoes are called Austin Pear. I picked up two at a local garden sale in the spring. The plants were started by high school students in their horticultural class and they've been growing beautifully in big pots on my patio. I'm looking forward to tasting them later in the season. As I understand it, this is an heirloom variety.



Elsewhere, the dipladenia is adding plenty of colour.


So is the Jethro Tull coreopsis. How the plant came to be named after a British rock group is a mystery to me. I do like the tubular shape of the petals. I wonder if the band ever featured any horns in their music . . .


A little cosmos was added to the garden mix this year. More would have been better. A mass of them dancing in the summer breeze would have been very pretty.





As for this girl, my foster puss met a lovely family this month. They were interested enough to move beyond the "Meet and Greet" (during which time Claire hid under the chair) and this lovely cat has now been on an "Extended Home Visit" with them since last Wednesday evening. Basically, it's a trial run where the family determines whether the puss fits happily into their household. I imagine the decision will be made very soon, one way or the other.



It's been an interesting month thus far: a gum graft, new glasses (my first foray into the land of progressive lenses), some interest in my foster feline, a bit of house-hunting (no luck there) and other assorted odds and ends. How are things with you?


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