Saturday, April 02, 2011

13 / 52 weeks

52 weeks of daily life in pictures: trials and celebrations,
the extraordinary and mundane -- 

whatever is unique to the week. 

Join me if you like.

     ** Our son was in the mood to bake up some homemade (lenten) pretzels.

Instead he came upon this recipe to make cinnamon buns using the breadmaker. Guess which recipe he chose?

Cinnamon buns for the Breadmaker;
4 tbsp. melted butter
4 tbsp. water
1/4 vanilla pudding powder (omit if you don't have and add 1 tsp. vanilla extract instead)
1 cup milk
1 egg
1 tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
4 cups flour (if using wholewheat, add a bit more liquid)
2 1/2 tsp. yeast

Place all in the bread maker, begin cycle and remove once all the kneading is complete (about an hour or so). Roll out on lightly floured countertop to a 17 x 10 inch rectangle. Blend 1/2 cup butter with 1/2 cup brown sugar (we've halved it, usually it's a cup), and 3 tsp. cinnamon. Lay this mixture on top of the rectangular shaped dough, spread evenly and roll up jelly roll style. Use a knife to cut into individual buns, or freeze as is right here to bake another time. Place a clean kitchen towel over top, and wait approximately another hour for the buns to rise. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes. Voila!
Icing; Mix together; 3 cups powdered sugar, 4 tbsp. butter, 1 tsp. vanilla and 3 tbsp. milk. Drizzle on top of hot buns straight after coming out of the oven. Wait a bit to eat, and be sure to have a cuppa something hot to sip on to accompany the treat.

I was most impressed with his sense of independence, not requiring any assistance at all, spending much time in and around his schooling this day to create some goodness for his family. Everyone was allowed to consume only one, he gobbled up three....because he was the baker you know.

     ** Always a reminder in our lives to be aware of our surroundings. It doesn't take a round of hospital visits to remember what a cold or flu can do around here, and I'm thankful for a winter that wasn't horrible. I know I've mentioned it over and over again, so forgive me for doing it again; If your family is not consuming probiotics, why not? 

There will be no diarrhea, there will be no throwing up, and there will be no ecoli or bacterial threats to our family's colons - all due to consuming both acidophilus/bifidus live cell combos all year long. I would even be so bold as to shout to the world - those probiotic regimes have literally been one great bodily army force to keep my hubby more healthy than many with lung diseases with fabulous amounts of good flora continually entering his system. Be sure to buy the kind that must be refrigerated to keep "live", and forget teeny tiny consumptions of yogurt instead because they are so far from being the same quantities in a huge general sense of the word. 

My hubby only ended up with three lung infections this winter, the very same amount as last winter, and reminders are in our face again as to the threat these pose for him. I was able to have a very intimate and mighty emotional telephone conversation with a young widow this week, where she shared details about the death of her husband (who suffered from the same rare lung disease my husband has), and it is a real shame he died from pulmonary failure all due to a lung infection doctors couldn't keep under control. He wasn't protected with doctors granting him the same medical treatment my husband has, something so simple, a little thing -  whereby he has been granted self-prescribing at home, with a stash of antibiotics ready to consume the second he notices a color change in sputum. Many more words were shared and spoken, and grand ideas put forth for more; "Mounier-Kuhn Syndrome" awareness.

Little things save lives. 

Little things are usually taken for granted, but not here. 

Every little thing counts.  

** Recipe rewrites are a good thing around here when the originals are disappearing before our eyes, and already scribbled over top so we can continue to use them again and again. Speaking of the rice stores in my pantry from last week, I decided this family favorite was overdue for creating a simple dinner with leftover chicken and a few staples items from the pantry;

"One pan chicken curry"
3 chicken breast halves
1/4 c olive oil
2 small apples, pared and chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1-3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup peanut butter
3 tbsp. flour , 3 tsp. curry , 1/8 tsp. cinnamon, 1/8 tsp. ginger
2 cups milk
Skin and bone chicken, and cut into pieces. Heat oil in large skillet. Add chicken (mine is usually leftover bits of chicken, beef or pork), apple, onion and garlic. Cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes, or until chicken is firm to touch and onions are tender.

Stir in peanut butter, sprinkle in flour, curry, salt, cinnamon and ginger. Slowly stir in milk, cook stirring constantly until sauce thickens and bubbles about 2 minutes.

HINT; I always use leftover precooked meat, and usually double this recipe for our family. Peanut butter contributes to high quality protein so be sure to use this ingredient without sugars (I use organic, only crushed peanuts). Serve over rice with condiments offered such as; coconut, chopped hard cooked egg, mango chutney, hot sauce, bacon bits, or for a meatless Friday, opt not to use any meat and up the peanut butter. Still yummy!

     ** Back to paper crafting with the younger ones. I'll say it again and again! We all enjoy these times and just don't do this often enough!

Time to step it up!

     ** The girls and I attended an important meeting at the barn (well coach's home) this week to hear details of her thoughts on the  upcoming season of horse showing for her riding students. As the details emerged throughout the evening, it became clear to all of us this late spring and summer is going to be one very exciting bunch of horse shows! 

Instead of our girls hoping their coach would enter them in a few schooling shows like the ones they attended last year, she has advanced them into a different category known in Ontario as "Trillium" horse show contestants. This would be the difference from being a sporting house league versus a rep team. 

Our girls now have some fairly lofty goals for this upcoming May-September horse show season, and I'm happy to say the fundraising efforts have now officially begun so they can assist with multiple smaller fees associated with such a sport. It's all so exciting really, knowing full well this is the last year for one daughter to be entered into her "12 and under short stirrup division", and one daughter off to college not knowing if she will participate again next year. :) 

     ** It's also that time of year when one looks forward to the change of seasons, when it becomes warmer outdoors and the timing beckons us out of the house more often. Our family has joined in the local Canoe and Kayak Club for this summer's paddling fun and family times within our community at large, and I'm so looking forward to getting back on the water to do what is featured in this very favorite page from a magazine I ripped out years ago now. 

After attending the past two winter meetings and listening to guest speakers with their power point presentations, our entire family can use the club's canoes and kayaks at large for designated paddle evenings on the bay, or partake in one of the many outings offered by members within the club. All free of charge in exchange for a very nominal membership fee. Guess where we'll be hanging out this summer? 

     ** A few of the neighbors and a visiting gal decided it would be a good idea to walk our dogs for sport, little did they know one in particular prefers to walk them instead. Overall, I wondered who walked who, but they had a great time stopping to play with this along the way. Lucky dogs to have so much loving. 

Oh, and in case you were wondering, our dogs are still daily walkers on our treadmill, even when the weather is fine outside. You see, they are much more disciplined to keep up some cardio movement on the treadmill, and even though they still get outdoors for a shorter daily walk to compliment the indoor hustle, as the forest continues to come alive, there is always something to sniff, something to stop and listen to and movement to make them feel an instinctive ensure to bolt away in search of temptation. Squirels have to be the very worst! Sheesh!

     ** Tea time was enjoyed by four young ladies, served in our dining room, all happy to have such a surprise treat, (using my special china), in the middle of the afternoon. I found it quite cute to watch them "figure out" how to hold a teacup properly, and enjoy their sipping.

     ** Nature sings in spring! 

The birds are around. They sing lovely melodies to allow us the knowledge of their presence. And yet, they are not consuming too much in the way of bird seed just yet. We wake in the early morning to sing song, and know there is much ado about nesting time in the midst of our forest. 

It's rather exciting to "hear" spring coming just a wee bit more every day.

     ** We were thrilled to be able to entertain our house guest this week, catching up on all the good times of the past, especially those between my hubby and him. These two met as young boys, barely ten years of age, and the adventures they reminisced about offered all fuzzy warm memories, with photos shared via email in the days following.

Promises were made to keep in touch, all very sincere, and many more hours could have indeed been spent chatting up the past for these two.  Laughs abounded, just what the doctor ordered for sure. 

     ** At first glance it looked like they were building an igloo on the frozen waters. And then, we noticed the men holding onto yellow ropes. Ice fishing perhaps like those in the photo below?

No it can't be...

Because at the end of about 15 minutes of freezing to bits nearby (with camera in hand), we watched in disbelief as three black round heads popped up from under the icy surface. Obviously they were all nuts! But then again, maybe they were earning certification towards something akin to navy seal work, body recovery expertise, whatever.

As I came to notice just how frozen my fingers were after such a short period of time observing the action like all the other folks nearby, it was then I knew they were all in dire need of having their heads checked. Wind chill factors were beyond frigid, impossible to keep outdoors for long. 

Crazy I tell you! They were all just crazy!

     ** A little bit of sushi anyone? 

An evening date with my hubby to a new place, with food fare presentation factors to delight!

Inside of wide brimmed martini glasses were a seaweed salad garnished with sliced pears, and in behind were edamame beans. I thoroughly enjoyed this evening, sitting back in leather comfy chairs, appreciating the ambiance of the restaurant and delighting in something new to us.

Head on over to Barbara's to check out the invitation to join the;