Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award Nomination

sisterhood-of-the-world-bloggers-award-borderThis is my first award nomination as a blogger!!!
<Queue music: I’m So Excited, by The Pointer Sisters>

The Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award recognizes the unique voices of women across the globe. This award, given by bloggers to fellow bloggers, is a way of networking, getting to know one another, and sending a little happiness to other deserving bloggers.

I am excited, humbled, and honored for this nomination; I wish I had the words to better express my euphoria. I am thrilled to be recognized by my peers for doing what I love. Thank you, naammeinkyarakhahai, for nominating me for this special award.

If you haven’t had a chance to check out https://bepositiveyaroon.wordpress.com, naammeinkyarakhahai’s blog, do so now! Her “random” collections of nail art, quilling, and jokes, are refreshingly unique.

The rules of this award:

  • Thank and link the blogger who nominated you.
  • Answer the questions the nominator has provided.
  • Nominate 7-12 other bloggers
  • Create 10 questions for your nominees
  • Notify them of their nomination

My answers to naammeinkyarakhahai questions:

  • Do you like your hair to be straight or wavy?
    Wavy
  • Which is the best food that you have cooked till date?
    Lemon Pecan Pie
  • Which is your favourite restaurant?
    Georges at the Cove
  • Who is your favorite blogger? Why?
    There are so many excellent bloggers, I can’t name just one. I seem to gravitate toward art, literature, fiber art (I knit), paper crafting, and parenting. I am a huge fan of both Laci Green and Anita Sarkeesian. What I consume on the interwebs depends on my mood.
  • Tell me about your best friend.
    She’s bat-crap crazy and lovingly loyal. I love her quirky sense of humor.
  • Which is you favorite shopping store?
    Amazon
  • Write 5 random stuffs about you.
    • I love to craft, knit, paper craft
    • I’m an avid reader
    • I’m an outgoing introvert
    • I have another blog: http://mama3kat.blogspot.com/
    • I’m thinking about starting a third blog.
  • Do you remember any of your dreams?
    Yes! Often in vivid detail.
  • Tell me a joke.
    What kind of shoes do ninjas wear? Sneakers.
  • Last one… tell me about the best day of your life till date..:)
    Every day is the best day; most especially are the days I get to spend with my kids.

My nominees:

My Questions:

  1. What is your favorite book?
  2. Name three items on your “bucket list”
  3. What inspires you?
  4. What do you believe are the most interesting/unique thing is about yourself?
  5. Which “super power” do you wish you had? Why?
  6. Describe yourself in 3 words.
  7. Describe your last light bulb moment?
  8. What is the most useful advice that you have received in the past 10 years?
  9. What is something you have recently learned about yourself that surprised you?
  10. Describe something you are waiting for, or looking forward to.

To my readers: I’d love to hear your answers to the above questions! I encourage you to add your responses to the comments section.

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Quintessentially Québecois: Tuesday

Previous: Quintessentially Québecois: Monday
From the beginning: Quintessentially Québecois: Sunday

IMG_0672I awoke to the sound of rain. It was early, and as I was on vacation, I decided to roll over and return to sleep. I woke up several hours later, remaining in bed to read a little while. When I heard other members of the house stirring, notably the cat meowing to come in for breakfast, I made my way out to the kitchen.

We ate oatmeal for breakfast, garnished with slivered almonds and dried apricots (delicious!). It’s a relatively simple addition, yet my taste buds were doing the happy dance.

The morning was filled with assorted tasks and a gaming session, we played Fireboy and Watergirl.  The game’s theme music reminded me of a game I knew my kids had played. Upon my return, I asked my son what other game had a similar soundtrack. “Mom, we used to play Fireboy and Watergirl.” Oh, so that’s why the music sounded so familiar!

PorchIn the early afternoon, we walked to the village market, which is a few blocks away. Part way into our walk, a motorist gestured and gleefully pantomimed something to us, which we couldn’t interpret. We scratched our heads and shrugged our shoulders, momentarily perplexed. Shortly after, we felt a whisper of mist. No big deal, what’s a little mist? A few steps more, and the mist turned to rain. Should we turn around and go back home? As we were at the halfway point, we decided to take our chances. What’s a little rain? Seconds after deciding to forge ahead, we were walking through a torrential downpour. Thankfully, it was a relatively warm rain, not quite as warm as a shower, although for a moment there I thought if I had brought soap… We took refuge on a neighbors porch until the storm passed. Huddled in the corner, the only dry spot, we laughed and marveled at the intensity of the storm.

What, you may ask, was so important to acquire at the market? Strawberries! Yes, we willing to brave the elements, and become soaked in the process, to buy ripe, ruby red strawberries. Truthfully, when we started out, the sky was clear.

Evidently, we survived the storm; else I wouldn’t be writing this post. It is a treasured moment, one that brings a smile to my lips whenever I recall it.

Did I spend time wandering around the market? Yes, of course! I walked up and down the aisles, looking for regional delicacies. The walk back was uneventful. However, there was a huge puddle I kinda wanted to splash and stomp around in, like a kid trying out a new pair of galoshes. I mean, what the heck, I was already soaked through, why not? I refrained, barely.

We spent the afternoon talking, brainstorming, and taking copious notes on the ideas our conversations had sparked. Generating ideas is hungry work, and there were strawberries calling our names. We topped the strawberries with yogurt mixed with honey, almonds, and dark chocolate. Okay, it was more of a dessert than a late afternoon snack. I’m positive there’s an adage out there about eating dessert first, isn’t there? So, we were simply following Ernestine Ulmer’s advice!

After our dessert-like snack, my host treated me to a Tarot reading. He’s quite talented! If you’ve spent any time poking around my blog, you may have noticed I have long nails. I mention this because I had a difficult time picking up the cards I had selected from the cards fanned out on the table. At the beginning of the reading I slid a few cards to the table edge and then turned them over. However, had I continued with this method, I would have mussed the evolving spread of cards. I resorted to pointing to the cards I wanted, and my host/Tarot card reader turned and then placed them for me. I must confess, for the few moments spent selecting cards I kinda enjoyed being the girly, damsel in distress, and I couldn’t have asked for a more courtly knight in shining armor. (I will detail the reading in a follow-on post. Stay tuned!)

Time flew. Before long, my host was making dinner.  We enjoyed pork loin cutlets with sweet potatoes and zucchini, which my host had artfully arranged on our plates. Sadly, I didn’t remember to photograph our meal. I wonder if my host/chef, would recreate our meals, and then send me photos. Too much to ask? Indeed. Sigh.

We touched on many topics during dinner. The wine paired with our meal loosened my tongue, as if I need much prodding, and I geeked out over interactive eBook ideas. I’m guessing I didn’t bore anyone too much with my plunge into nerdiness, as I didn’t notice glazed eyes, excessive fidgeting, or snoring emitting from slacked jaws, (the usual reaction I get when I geek out, so I generally refrain).

During dinner, we very lightly and very briefly touched on religion. Dane Cook’s Atheist Sneeze popped into my head, and I thought it might be a fun thing to watch. We did, and it was. We talked a moment about comedy writing, timing, and how well written and performed Atheist Sneeze is. Of course, we couldn’t stop at just one routine! We spent about an hour viewing some of his other YouTube offering, none of which I had seen before.

Alas and alack, the hour was late and the bed beckoned. As I crawled into bed, I noticed a complete lack of tension. Apparently, I had successfully left all my worries behind. Ahhh, so this is what it feels like to be stress free.

Quintessentially Québecois: Monday

Previous: Quintessentially Québecois: Sunday

I had forgotten to turn off my alarm for the week, and we were rudely awakened at 6 am. I jumped out of bed and quickly disabled the setting for the rest of the week before returning to bed for another couple of hours. Isn’t sleeping in one of the pleasures in which one on vacation indulges?

For breakfast, we had orange juice, Quinoa pancakes, and coffee. Our repast was delicious. There’s something particularly authentic about having Canadian maple syrup while in Canada. After washing up the dishes, we took a walk in the village.

On the banks of the river, we saw a muskrat. He was so cute!!!! The song Muskrat Love kept playing in my head, the version sung by America.

In a small park local fiber artists had yarn bombed a tree. What fun! There were even small, cleverly crocheted birds decorating the branches. I loved knowing my fellow fiber enthusiasts were close at hand.

IMG_0653

We spent the afternoon enjoying a bird watching boat tour. We saw a bald eagle in flight, he was quite majestic! We saw an immature one in flight, too. Sadly, I wasn’t quick enough to snap photos of either bird.

IMG_0637The tour guide spoke mostly in French. Happily, my hosts effortlessly translated for me.

The couple sharing our boat were definitely bird enthusiasts. They graciously lent us their binoculars whenever there were birds of interest to view. IMG_0642We watch a bird eating a fish up in a tree for a bit. It was a beautiful day, warm and sunny with a cooling breeze.

I had made the mistake of not bringing sunscreen with me. I was burned to a crisp by the end of our tour.

I had the pleasure of visiting Cégep de Sorel-Tracy. The campus is lovely, and I enjoyed wandering the empty halls, not unlike a specter of lessons past. I resisted the urge to do something remarkably silly. If there had been an open lecture room, perhaps I would have drawn on the whiteboards. Maybe I would have written “Help! I’m being held prisoner behind this whiteboard!” backward. Then again, I’d be writing in English, backward, how amusing would that be? Alas and alack, the rooms were all locked.

We stopped at a grocery story on the way back to the house. I don’t know why, but I get a kick out of wandering around grocery stores, especially in far away places. I like to see what’s similar, what’s different, look at the various brands, examine the different types of packaging and labeling. I was tickled to have had lots of time to indulge my rather odd predilection.

IMG_0660That night we dined on duck a l’orange, served with whole wheat couscous, roasted turnips, and asparagus.

Seriously yummy!

I helped make the turnips (yay, me!). Here’s what I remember of the recipe:

Cubed, tossed with olive oil, salt, pepper, oregano, and a pinch of sugar. Roasted in the oven until tender.

I have no idea what other spices might have been used, or the oven temperature. Hmmm, maybe I’ll need to take another journey to further research these mysteries.

Next: Quintessentially Québecois: Tuesday

Gourmet 4th of July

Very good friends of mine invited me to join them for the 4th of July. We celebrated with their gourmet group, all of whose company I enjoy last Thanksgiving. The host’s home is beautiful, their backyard the perfect setting for a lively and entertaining gathering.

A little about the gourmet group

Four couples started meeting every two months about 10-12 years ago. Originally, the host couple would create the menu, and then send recipes for selected appetizers, desserts, side dishes, etc., out to the other three couples. A few years ago, they simplified the arrangement. Now, the host couple sends out a message to the group indicating what main course they will be serving. It’s up to the other couples to come up with dishes to compliment their choice. Sometimes the host couple will assign categories to the other couples, sometimes the categories are up for grabs.

Mouthwatering recipes

3-2-1 Ribs

Our host first smoked racks of ribs for three hours, wrapped then in foil and continued cooking them for two more hours. The final hour, the ribs were sauced in Ancho Molasses BBQ Sauce by Tom Douglas for Sur La Table. The meat was tender and the sauce, amazing!

Variation on a theme of Brick Chicken

IMG_0771I’m light on the details, so here’s a close approximation. Our host used a salt block instead of a brick.

Essentially, he removed the backbone from the chicken and flattened it out. Rubbed it down with oil and spices, and then set it on the grill. On top of the chicken, he placed the salt block that had been heated while the grill was coming up to temperature.

IMG_0775I don’t recall the exact cooking times, but I think I remember the chicken cooked for about 15 minutes on each side. While the chicken was resting, our host grilled lemons. Salt brick chicken and grilled lemons, incredible!

Sunny’s Quick Chilled Carrot SoupIMG_0754

Our gourmand presented this lovely, soup in Martini glasses. Fantastic!

There was a green salad, macaroni salad, and bar-b-que baked bean, none of which I managed to acquire recipes. I was particularly fond of the macaroni salad. Maybe, if I bat my eyes, I can get the recipe out of the host. Think it will work?

Dessert was to die for.  Imagine this, shortbread cookie layered with whipped cream doctored with orange zest and Grand Marnier, followed by a layered of strawberries topped with more orange flavored whipped cream. IMG_0746

Add a second layer. Now, imagine this delectable confection floating in a raspberry and strawberry puree infused with Chambord.

That ain’t no down-stream strawberry shortcake. A-frikkin’-mazing!

The hosts and guests were charming, the conversation scintillating, and the food was phenomenal.

Quintessentially Québecois: Sunday

This year I flew to Québec for my annual migration in June, the week before my 50th birthday. I took an 11:30 am flight instead of my usual 7 am departure time. I liked not getting up at the butt-crack of dawn, yet I felt I was imposing on my host for arriving so close to midnight. The flight was easy, only slightly delayed because of an electrical storm. It took a while for the baggage to make it onto the conveyor belt, something about not wanting the crew to be electrocuted while they were unloading everyone’s belongings. Safety and all that, n’est-ce pas?

This year I had the distinct pleasure of being picked up at the airport instead of catching a cab. Don’t get me wrong, cab rides can be quite enjoyable. Yet, there was something extra special having someone waiting for my arrival, and the hour-long drive to our destination was sprinkled with witty repartee, laughter, and comfortable silences. While I was staying in Saint-Ours, I would like to point out that I did not see any bears, sainted or otherwise.

We arrived at what was to be my home for the week, and I was quickly settled into bed — it was well past midnight when we pulled into the driveway. There was one small flaw in all the plans and preparations I had made for my trip: I forgot to disable the work alarm on my phone. Yup, you guessed it: my wake up tune warbled at 6 am, arrgh! I quickly silenced it, and then promptly turned over and went back to sleep.

Next: Quintessentially Québecois: Monday