Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Yummy Mummy Treats

Hallowe'en is in just over a week and I know that our two kiddos off at university are working super hard right now so I thought that a little treat would be appreciated. It's a miracle of organizational skills but I actually got these mummy treats made and mailed off last weekend. I know, I know - amazing isn't it. 

I thought I would share the idea with you because, friends, these couldn't be easier to make and yet you look like you put some effort into the gift. To make the mummy treats you just wrap a chocolate bar in black paper. Then you wrap over the black paper with toilet paper (white crepe paper might have been better, but I didn't have any) and add a pair of googly eyes.

It's all about the eyes don't you think! 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Hilton Falls in the Fall

Now that fall is here in full force I'm madly trying to pack my weekends full of fun outings and activities before winter comes. I feel like the squirrels who are madly gathering nuts, except I'm madly collecting adventures. Last winter was a nasty one and I keep hearing rumours that this one is going to be worse (yikes!) so I want to have done lots before we cocoon.

So in the spirit of wanting an adventure the husband and I went for a hike to Hilton Falls and then out for coffee afterward. Apparently, lots of other people wanted an adventure too because we sure weren't alone. Near the falls there is always a big bonfire so people can bring hotdogs and marshmallows to roast and boy was it popular. Nevertheless, the gorgeous golden trees were what stuck in my memory.

I always find it interesting how different parts of the forest can vary so much from each other. It is especially noticeable in the fall because some parts had already lost their leaves, some were predominantly trees that turned yellow, some were golds and oranges, and some were evergreen.

The Niagara Escarpment cliffs can be seen nearby and were looking especially beautiful with all the fall colours. I actually took these next two photos while we were driving because there really wasn't anywhere to stop. I was impressed they turned out as well as they did.

I think Anne of Green Gables summed our day up best.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Falling for Hamilton

Isn't it crazy when you discover something beautiful that you have never seen before and it is located only 35 minutes from where you live. In this case it was two beautiful waterfalls near the city of Hamilton, Ontario - called Tew's Falls and Webster's Falls. 

These falls are located close to each other in a conservation area so you can easily visit both in one day. Tew's Falls (seen in the photos above) is the highest falls in the Hamilton area and is just a little bit shorter than Niagara Falls. Webster's Falls (seen in the photo below) is considered the most scenic waterfall in the area of the city of Hamilton.

Something I never realized is that the city of Hamilton has more than 100 waterfalls and is called "The Waterfall Capital of the World".  How did I miss this?

Hamilton is built on the Niagara Escarpment - a ridge that runs from Tobermory up on Lake Huron to Niagara Falls in the south- and causes a dramatic elevation change. You can see the edge of the escarpment in the photos below. It is only makes sense that when an escarpment runs through a city it would allow for the formation of many waterfalls. Somehow I just never made that connection when it came to Hamilton even though I've lived nearby for years.

I love finding little treasures like this and you can bet I won't forget about this one.  I'll be back waterfalls! I hear you are beautiful in the winter too. Have you ever discovered a treasure near where you live that you had never visited before.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Baked Apple Beet Casserole

Happy Thanksgiving to all my Canadian friends and Happy Columbus Day weekend to my American friends and Happy Monday to everyone else!  

We just got back from a lovely weekend at the cottage with family and friends.  It was cool, but a nice mix of sun and cloud which meant we were able to both sit inside and chat and relax as well as get out for some walks. Honestly, I could get lost in the reds and golds and oranges that were all over the trees. Most of the reddest leaves had already fallen, but the oranges and reddish-oranges were still going strong along with the yellows and golds. My personal favourite are the trees and leaves with a range of colours on them from red to yellow.

We had Thanksgiving dinner at my Aunt's home which is near our cottage.  It was a fantastic dinner and everything was delicious. It was such fun to get together with our good friends who joined us for the weekend as well as family.  So much to be thankful for!



I did want to share one recipe with you (and preserve it so I can find it again as it is definitely one I want to repeat). We had ham on the day after Thanksgiving dinner and I wanted to serve beets with the ham. I checked some cookbooks for recipes and modified one to make Baked Apple Beets. They are so simple to make and great when you have company as all the fuss of skinning the beets is done long beforehand.

Baked Apple Beets
2 cups cooked beets, chopped
2 cups apple, peeled, cored, and chopped
1 large onion, thinly sliced 
2-3 tablespoons margarine or butter

1. Cook whole beets for 40-50 minutes and skin them when cool enough to handle.
2. Combine ingredients in a baking dish and dot with margarine
3. Cover and cook for 1 1/2 hour at 325F

Monday, October 6, 2014

Making Sushi

Have you ever made your own sushi? I know lots of people have, but I'm not one of them. I love trying new recipes, though, so I was keen to try.

Our son Malcolm suggested we make sushi for lunch when we visited them last weekend. Most of the ingredients are easy to get, but I wasn't sure about the raw fish. I was told at our local grocery store's meat counter that their salmon was not considered sushi-grade, but it was fresh from New Brunswick and had been received that day which seemed good enough for me.

I thought sushi making would be much more difficult than it is to make the rolls stay together and look pretty.

All you do is press some sticky rice on the seaweed sheets leaving about an inch along the top edge bare without any rice. You have to use sticky rice so that the grains will stick together - regular rice won't work.

Then you add your choice of thinly sliced vegetables (we had cucumber, carrots, and avocado), crab meat, or raw salmon along the edge nearest you. 

When you have all the ingredients you want, then you roll the log starting from the side nearest to you. The bamboo mats help you make a tight roll. The inch of seaweed wrapper at the top edge of the sheet is used to seal the log together. It helps to have a bowl of water to dip your fingers into if they get too covered in rice or if you need to help the seaweed wrapper make a firm seal.

Then, using a sharp knife you cut the log into bite-sized pieces and put them on a plate to admire eat.

We started our meal with miso soup so we would have the energy to make our sushi lunch. Miso soup is very easy to make and a great addition to a sushi meal. We modified this recipe and it turned out to be so tasty.

To make miso soup, boil together:
4 cups water
1/2 cup chopped green onion (or more if you want)
1 package firm tofu (it must have been about 2 cups)
3-4 tablespoons miso paste
2 sheets of nori (dried seaweed), crumpled

I love sushi and am impressed with how easy it was to make them look good - and of course, they tasted great!