Sunday, October 26, 2014

4 Fun Fall Facts

Fun Fall fact #1: 
Did you know that the stem on pumpkins has a name (and it's not stem). It's called a peduncle. I only recently learned that peduncles are five-sided. Who knew? 

Fun Fall fact #2: 
Did you know that the contents of the cans of pumpkin puree that many of us use to make pumpkin pie is really squash, not pumpkin. Of course, pumpkin and squash are in the same family, but squash has a firmer consistency that is better for making pies so that is why it is sold as pumpkin puree.

Fun Fall fact #3: 
Did you know that the best conditions for producing the most spectacular fall leaf colours are a wet spring and summer followed by a sunny cool fall. Having lots of sunshine in the fall encourages leaves to produce more sugar. Cool (but frostless) nights cause the veins in the leaves to close, trapping the sugar which promotes the formation of pigments that give fall leaves their colourful tints, especially reds and purples.

Fun Fall fact #4:
Did you know that there are only two days of the year when you can stand an egg on its end - the fall and spring equinox. Since we've missed the autumnal equinox, the hardest part of getting an egg to stand on its end will be remembering to do it on March 20, 2015.

And speaking of fall, we made our carved - or maybe I should call them etched pumpkins - again this year in art class. They are always so much fun to make. If you look closely at the first photo in this blog you will see that I carved five vines coming from each of the points on the peduncle (as per fun fact #1).

I love that the etched pumpkins add a little pretty to the front porch. I'm really not into scary so this suits me much better. You can see below the other ones I've made in previous years.


And in other news - did you see the photos from my instagram account on my sidebar. I finally joined yet another form of social media. Actually, I've had an account for awhile (and even a few followers), but never posted anything until now... Anyway, it is a bit lonely out there right now so if you want to have a look I would love to see you on instagram. Let me know if you have an account as I'm looking for friends too!

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! 

Linked to A Pretty Life in the Suburbs Halloween Link Party

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