August 29, 2014

The Quotidian (29. 8. 14)

Quotidian: daily, usual, or customary;
everyday; ordinary; commonplace.


A treat for Fraser's birthday.
Yes, that's Howie in the pilot's seat.  :)
(Photo courtesy of Calvin ~ he got to go for a flight as well.)


Baking beauty ~ making these.


Waiting to be cleaned ~ necessary after this.
(It's been cleaned since I took this photo...yippee!)


Just as I found it ~ made me smile.



Pollyanna ~ A rare treasure from my childhood shared with my girl.


I believe it was my grandmother's before it was my mother's 
before it was mine ~ 1913!



Monopoly Marathon ~ Two different games...
two different brothers...over the course of a few days.




Proceeds of a lawn care job ~ they were picked legitimately.


Reading to the sick girl.


Figuring it all out ~ sort of.


The New Driver ~ Look Out!  ;-)


It began innocently enough ~ now it's a treasure.

Have a wonderful weekend!
With Love, Camille

August 27, 2014

Bird's Eye View

Mid-summer we went on a little local adventure.
We had never taken our children up Grouse Mountain before,
so, it was high time we did!

The day was a little iffy weather-wise, but, we forged ahead anyway.
The boys opted to hike to the top with my Sweetie.  
Emma and I (wisely) took the tram.


Two of our dear friends joined us ~ what a treat!  
Here we are at the top (minus Howie and the boys...
they were still hiking) ~ I took the photo.  :)


See the boys and Howie?
It's not called "The Grouse Grind" for no reason.  It's grueling.
The boys completed the hike up in approximately 40 minutes.
Howie came in at just over an hour.


Grouse Mountain is a favourite local skiing spot in the winter months.
Here you can see the chair lift above and the city below.
The snow completely melts in the summer months.


Emma found some wild flowers ~ 
not sure if we were supposed to pick them!


Family photo-op.  :)


Our friends left the mountain earlier than we
had to in order to catch a ferry back home.


We ended our day by visiting the Grizzlies at their enclosure.
These two were rescued as orphans approximately fourteen years ago.
Apparently, they are well cared for and happy.  They are so powerful.
We were so trusting of the fence!


See how close they are to us?


See the two white peaks of the new bridge halfway up and
a little to the left of centre in the photo below?
Emma and I crossed it when we were making deliveries in the winter.


It was lovely to have this bird's eye view of Vancouver.
It was a rare treat for sure.

What adventurous things did you do this summer?
Do tell.  Pretty please?  Inquiring minds want to know.

Happy Wednesday Y'all!
With Love, Camille

August 26, 2014

Well Worth the Effort

My sister and I share food ideas and like to sample
each other's wares.  This past visit was no exception to the rule.
This ice cream was one food idea I brought home with me.
Along with the recipe book it was found in ~ thank you, Janine!  :)

~ Toasted Coconut Ice Cream ~

Altered slightly from the recipe as found in
by Kris Hoogerhyde, Anne Walker and Dabney Gough


This is a cooked ice cream.  The base must be set in the fridge
to cool for at least a couple of hours prior to churning.
It is a little fussy, but, well worth the effort.

~ What you need ~

1 cup unsweetened shredded dried coconut
1/2 cup sweetened dried shredded coconut
2 cups whipping cream (unwhipped)
1 1/4 cups whole milk
3/4 cup sugar, divided (I use evaporated cane juice)
1/4 tsp sea salt
5 large egg yolks

~ What you do ~

Toast both types of coconut separately in a skillet and set aside.
I found that 250 degrees F was the right temperature to toast it at.
Be sure to stir constantly and remove from the pan as soon as it's done.
Toasting the coconut will only take a few minutes ~ be careful...it burns easily.

Infuse the milk and cream with the 1 cup of unsweetened 
toasted coconut by using the following method.
Bring the cream, milk, salt, and half the sugar (6 Tbsp) to a simmer in a heavy pan.
Stir in the unsweetened coconut.  Return to a bare simmer and remove from heat.
Cover the pan and set aside to infuse for approximately 30 minutes.

Once the 30 minutes is up, strain the milk mixture 
through a fine mesh sieve into a clean bowl.
The goal is to remove all the liquid from the coconut meat.
Press the coconut with the back of a spoon to accomplish this.
Discard the coconut meat ~ yes, really!  It's tasteless.  :)
Clean the pan and pour the infused cream mixture back into it.


In a medium heat proof bowl, whisk the egg yolks 
with the remaining 6 Tbsp of sugar (the other half of the 3/4 cup).
Bring the infused cream (in your pan) to a simmer over medium-high heat.
Reduce heat to medium and carefully add half a cup of the hot cream
mixture to the yolks and sugar in the bowl.  Whisk briskly while you do this step.
Keep adding the hot cream half a cup at a time to temper the yolks.
Repeat this step for a total of three times.

Keep the cream mixture on medium heat and whisk it in the pan
as you add in the tempered egg yolks in a slow and steady stream.
Keep whisking until all the yolks are incorporated into the pan of cream.  
Whisk constantly while you heat the custard to 180 degrees F.
I use a thermometer to be sure the correct temperature has been reached.

As soon as the custard reaches 180 degrees, pour through a clean mesh sieve
which has been set over a clean glass bowl.  Whisk as it cools.  
Cover with plastic wrap and set in the fridge to cool completely.
Cool a few hours or overnight.  The custard will thicken.
Churn in your ice cream maker according to manufacturer's directions.

Stir in the sweetened, toasted, shredded coconut in the last
couple minutes of churning.  Serve immediately for soft serve.
Or, transfer to a freezer container and freeze a few hours for firmer ice cream.

It's nearly impossible to make this last any longer than one day.
Go ahead...try to prove me wrong!  ;-)

Enjoy!  Love, Camille

August 25, 2014

Spreading Their Wings

It's inevitable.  It cannot be stopped.
Our children grow and change and become independent.
Or, they ought to.  And, we ought to facilitate it.
When and how is an individual family's decision.  Wisdom is required.


We are in the midst of these changes.  Right now.
Boys to men.  It's happening right before our eyes.
Our young men are spreading their wings.


~ Fraser and Calvin on the right ~

If it weren't for the fact that my boys have a Dad
who remembers what it was like to be a young man,
they would not be allowed to go on adventures like they do.
No sirree.  It would not be allowed.  Not at all.

But, that would not be good.  I know it wouldn't.
These really are good and necessary things.


At the beginning of August, Calvin and Fraser piled into a car
with two other young men and travelled clear across the Province.
Right into the mountains.  Out of cell phone reach.  Seven hours away.
Deep into the heart of Grizzly Country.  For real.
(They didn't see any bears, but, they were informed of their presence.)

They slept and ate and hiked.  Day after day.  For nearly a week.

This was the reason behind the trip Emma and I took.
A little distraction was a good thing for this Mama.
Poor Howie ~ he was holding the fort at home, and had
plenty of time to think about what it was that we had done.
(Maybe he began to second guess our decision to let them go?)

~ Fraser and Calvin on the left ~

When the boys returned, I had them unload everything into the laundry room.
They were under strict orders not to bring anything beyond its borders.
The report of "I didn't change anything but my socks for five days!" was
not music to my ears.  But, they survived.  And, are the better for it.

On a side note ~ white and camping do not mix.  Just sayin'.
Thankfully, I have a good supply of Oxi-Clean on hand.  It works wonders.

The socks that had been zipped closed in the Ziploc freezer bag,
however, were not salvageable.  Nope.  They were promptly ditched.
Wet socks sealed up for days on end produce nasty results.  Very nasty.
Thankfully, they were the only casualties of the entire experience.

Our young men survived and did it well.



The boys came home filled to the brim with stories and over 1000 images.
By all accounts, it was a wonderful experience for each one of them.
And, as a bonus, the friendships being forged are stronger because of it.
We are thankful for these opportunities for our young men.

But, I must admit ~ we are glad to have them home.
(It is a little messier and louder ~ but, it is good.)

Many Blessings,
Camille


**Photos in this post courtesy of Calvin ~ Thank you my love!  XO
(The first group shot was taken by a French hiker, the second shot was
taken by J.H., and the final group photo was taken using the self-timer.)

August 22, 2014

Fifteen (after the fact)

Calvin and Fraser began their journey into the
on August 4th ~ it was Fraser's birthday.
Emma and I were in California.  Howie was flying.

So, we postponed the celebration until a week after the fact.
What's a week when you've lived as long as he has?
Nothing.  That's what.  ;-)


Birthdays are special around here.
The birthday boy or girl gets to choose the breakfast menu
as well as what's for dinner.
Lunch somehow factored into things somewhere along
the line before I put the kibosh on the deal.

Two dictated meals is my limit.


Lucky Charms were requested this year.  Dear me!
(Please don't judge...it's a tradition that cannot be broken.)


I made coconut cream pie for dessert ~ it's his request year after year.
I'm not sure what happened to Calvin's smile...I think he was talking.
Oh...there it is!  :)


Precious Fraser ~ We love you and thank the Lord for you!
How wonderful it was (and is!) that the Lord added you to our family.
Happy fifteenth (after the fact) birthday!

All our Love, Dad(dy?) and Mum(my?) XO
(The titles I attribute to us as parents is a difficult habit to break ~
it's my feeble attempt at keeping them young forever.
Just so you know, it's not working.)

August 19, 2014

Our Real Home

"Whatever kind of tribulation we may suffer, this should always be our goal:
to learn contempt for the present life, and thus 
to be led to meditate on the life to come.

Because the Lord well knows our readiness to embrace the world with 
blind and even brutish love, he uses the very best means 
to part us from it and to rouse us from our lethargy,
so as to free our hearts from so foolish an attachment."


"It is appalling to think that many who boast they are Christians,
instead of desiring death, dread it so much that the very mention
of it makes them quake, as if it were the worst misfortune that could befall them.

It is not surprising if we feel unsettled and distraught 
when we hear that our body must be parted from our soul.

However, it is unthinkable that a Christian heart should be 
so lacking in light that it cannot overcome its fear by turning
to a higher source of comfort.

If we reflect that this bodily tabernacle which is weak,
flawed, corruptible, transient and decaying is dissolved and 
well nigh destroyed, in order to be restored to a perfect,
assured, incorruptible and heavenly glory, does not faith compel us 
fervently to crave what nature shuns and abhors?

When we remember that death calls us away from a miserable exile 
to our real home in heaven, how can we not find a
precious consolation in that?"

Quotes from "A Guide to Christian Living" by John Calvin ~
Pages 87, 101 and 102

With Love, Camille

**Photo courtesy of Uncle Gordon ~ Thank you so much!  XO

August 18, 2014

Month Menu ~ An Update

I'm just in the planning stages of my second month-at-a-time menu.
The jury's out on the results for the first month.  I am pleased with the knowing.
But, the budget...did it fare better?  I am still trying to figure that out.

My plan is to start from scratch and make a menu
for the month of September.  Once I've followed it for 
an entire calendar month, I will make an assessment of its merits. 

My girl and I went to visit my sister, and while we were gone,
the boys went camping (with expensive food), and my sweetie
was stocked with frozen choices (homemade) and *extras*.
I think the budget took a hit due to our scatteredness (new word).


~ The boys' camping meal plan...dear me! ~

A few things I have learned (actually, they were confirmed) ~
eating out and eating boxed cereal will sabotage any budget.
So will exorbitant amounts of Nutella.  But, I digress.

On the positive side of things ~
incorporating beans and lentils and eggs as main
features of a meal will stretch the budget further.
So will cooking up whole chickens and making soup.
Can you think of other budget-friendly ideas?  I'd love to hear them.

Month number two will soon be on the docket.
I'll let you know how it goes.  Do you even want to know?
How about you?  Have you tried it yet?
September is nearly upon us...it's a good time to begin.  :)

Happy Monday Y'all!
With Love, Camille

August 14, 2014

Summer Projects

Summer is the time for projects.
At least, that's the way it is around here.

We had a tree felled, which meant we had some wood to deal with.
Fraser and Calvin both took turns splitting logs.
The wood shed is full to overflowing now...just the way I like it.


Look at the size of those logs!  :)


The fence needed some attention.
We got Fraser and Emma going on it.


They got suited up and worked away.


It took two full days, but, they got it all done.


With a little bit of guidance, they did it all by themselves.
Doesn't it remind you a little of Tom Sawyer and the fence he
was required to whitewash?  Ah, those long summer days.
Perfect for painting fences...wouldn't you agree?


Calvin was put to work on the back deck railings and stairs.


He seemed to be happy about it (mostly, I think).
And, he did a great job (bonus).


Ah...the good life!  :)


Can you spot all three of them in this shot?


We are gearing up for another school year once again.
Summer is coming to an end, and so are the outdoor projects.
Do you do extra jobs around your home in the summer?
Or, do you save them up for the winter months 
when the weather is less agreeable?

We have both outdoor and indoor projects to do
on an ongoing basis, it seems.  
Next up around here is the basement hallway.  
The weather is still too nice to tackle it just yet.
I'm not even thinking about it.

Happy Weekend Y'all!
Many Blessings, Camille

August 12, 2014

To My People

To my people.  This is a true story.
It's a love story of sorts.  You'll understand why.
Especially if you make this cake.  And, taste it.  Dear me!

So, this is how it all came to be.
I flew out of this country and into the neighbouring one
for a quick trip with my girl to see my sister and her family.
We talk food when we are together.  We demo food.

This is where it gets good.


I hadn't long been inside the house (or the country), when I was told
that this cake would be on the menu at some point during our stay.
My sister reserved it for the day prior to our departure.
We had it for dessert that night and for breakfast the next morning.

(We are all grown up now, so...
dessert for breakfast is acceptable...right?)

Back to the cake.  It's a pound cake of sorts.  And, a bundt cake.
And, a berry cake.  And, a yogurt cake.  It truly is a-mazing!
Yesterday was a very hot day in our neck of the woods.
I turned the stove on to bake this.  But, it was worth it.  Absolutely.

Strawberry Yogurt Bundt Cake ~ with slight alterations.
Original recipe may be found by clicking here.


~ The Necessary Things ~

1 cup Butter ~ room temperature

2 cups granulated Sugar ~ I use evaporated cane juice

3 large Eggs ~ to be added one by one

3 to 4 Tbsp fresh squeezed Lemon Juice ~ I used Meyer lemons
(You will use 1 Tbsp for the cake and 2 to 3 Tbsp for the glaze)

Zest of one Lemon ~ use the small side of your grater for this

2 1/4 cup Flour plus another 1/4 cup Flour 
(The first portion goes into the cake batter and the 
second portion is used to coat the strawberries)

1/2 tsp Baking Soda and 1/2 tsp Sea Salt

1 cup plain Greek Yogurt ~ I used full fat, but 0% fat could be used

1 lb (500 g or 16 oz) fresh Strawberries ~ cleaned and diced

Icing Sugar (Powdered Sugar) to make the glaze



First things first.  Use a little butter and grease a ten inch bundt cake pan.
Then, dust a little flour inside.  Tap it on all sides to spread the flour.
Remove the excess by tipping upside-down over a garbage can and lightly tapping.
Preheat the oven to 375 F.  Once the cake gets placed into the oven,
the heat is reduced to 325 F.  Don't miss this!  :)



Zest your lemon and then squeeze it to get the juice you need.
You may need two lemons to get enough juice.
Clean and cut up your strawberries and set aside.


Sift together the first portion of flour (2 1/4 cups) with the
baking soda and sea salt.  Stir in the lemon zest and set aside.
Measure the greek yogurt into a small bowl and set aside.



Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
(You will need some sort of mixer to help with this step.)
Add in the eggs one at a time and beat after each addition.
Stir in the 1 Tbsp of lemon juice.

Take the flour mixture and the greek yogurt and add
1/4 of the flour to the mixer and stir until just incorporated.
Then, add in 1/4 of the yogurt and stir.
Repeat these two steps until all the flour and yogurt are mixed in.



Now, stir the remaining 1/4 cup of flour into the strawberries 
and toss quickly to coat the berries.
Fold the berries and flour into the batter with a spatula.
Do not beat the batter at this point.  Treat it gently.



Scoop the batter into your prepared bundt pan and 
spread it evenly to the edges.
The oven has been preheated to 375 F ~ don't forget to reduce it for baking.
Bake at 325 F for 1 hour until a toothpick comes out from one
of the centre cracks of the cake.  I found this took 65 minutes.

Once cake is baked, set it in the pan on a wire rack to rest for 20 minutes.
Then, set your wire rack on top of the cake pan and turn it upside-down
to release the cake.  If it's stuck, use a knife to loosen it around the edges.
If your pan was greased and floured well, this should not be a problem.



Let cake cool completely before setting it on a cake plate and glazing it.
For the glaze, pour 2 to 3 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
into a bowl and whisk in enough icing sugar to make a pourable glaze.

If you want the glaze to soak into the cake, make it a little on the thin side.
If you want to make a drizzle pattern on the cake as you see in these
photos, make the glaze a little thicker.  Either way, it's fabulous!



Serve it up to some very fortunate people.
They will love you for it...promise.  :)

Happy Baking!
With Love, Camille