February 14, 2009

Valentine Rambling

Happy Valentine's Day!

My sweet husband surprised me with this lovely little swan when he got home from work last night. I adore it, it's such a unique little bud vase. Roses from our backyard will be finding their way to this vase during the summer months, I do believe.

Our Valentine celebrations tend to be fairly simple. We will probably do a cheese fondue dinner by candlelight at home tonight, that's always romantic and fun. Then again, it's been a while since we've had a picnic on the floor...

I remember our first picnic on the floor. I was living in an efficiency apartment, a tiny little thing; the kitchen area was along one short wall of the living/dining room. We were both in college at the time.

We grilled steaks (a rare treat for college students!) on an indoor tabletop grill. I put an embroidered tablecloth on the floor in my tiny living room. Husband (boyfriend at the time) had gotten a pink rose for me, so that was in a vase in the center of the cloth. We heaped plates with steak and mashed potatoes and gravy. I think Husband got the biggest steaks he could find; they were huge! We had those little buttery crescent rolls, too. I don't believe there was a green or leafy vegetable in sight!

We sat on the floor and shared bites and savoured the juicy steaks. We laughed at our extravagance. So silly, but such a good memory. I think I might even have pictures of our feast somewhere, but this was way before digital cameras.

Still love him as much as I did back then, though.

February 1, 2009

Imbolc Planning

Tomorrow is Imbolc and I have been thinking a lot about what I'd like to do this year. I think of Imbolc as the time of earth's quickening and also as a time of clearing out the old to make way for the new. A time of purifying mind, body, spirit, home.

So I think I will take a purification shower and continue with the cleaning I've begun around the house. I've also decided to try a couple of new recipes. The first one being:


2 tablespoons olive oil
3 leeks, white parts only, well-washed and cut into 1/2-inch rounds
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 medium carrot, diced
2 teaspoons paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne (or more, to taste)
6 cups vegetable broth or water
sea salt
Handful of mustard greens, watercress, or parsley, coarsely chopped
croutons for garnish
sour cream for garnish
sprouts for garnish

1. Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot. Add leeks, bell pepper,
and carrots and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened. Sprinkle
vegetables with paprika and cayenne to taste.

2. Add vegetable broth or water, and salt to taste. Bring to a boil
and cook, covered, for 15 minutes. Add greens and continue cooking
for 2 to 3 minutes.

3. To serve, place a few croutons in each individual soup bowl, then
add broth. Top each serving with sour cream and a couple of fresh

Serves 4 to 6.

This soup is supposed to be rich with flavonoids, and will clear the sinuses and promote healing. Its also full of spring and fiery flavor.

I've always wanted to try making a baked custard and while browsing recipes online, I found the perfect one to try:


1 egg
1 cup milk
3 tablespoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1. In a bowl, lightly beat the egg. Stir in the milk, sugar, vanilla and salt until combined.
2. Pour into two ungreased 6-oz. custard cups. Sprinkle with nutmeg.
3. Place in an 8-in. square baking dish; add 1 in. of hot water to the pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 35 minutes or until a knife comes out clean.

Other than these simple plans, I will wait and see what other inspirations arise tomorrow.