Sunday, 10 April 2016

Is there an easy way to use vegetable bits?


When I'm cooking, I have a bowl with all the peels and bits that don't go into the meal.

Instead of putting these scraps into a compost bucket they go into a large Ziploc freezer bag, labeled "veg for broth". As well, anything in the fridge that is forgotten and wrinkly or not "fresh" enough to serve goes into the freezer bag too.

There's a bit of editing of course: nothing slimy. THAT does need to be composted! But the rest: open season! 

When prepping supper, have a discard bowl. In goes things that won't go into the dish I'm cooking, or are past their prime (for example):
  • beet, fennel, and onion ends (and the onion skins!)
  • celery, radish or carrot tops and tails
  • potato and apple peels (not apple cores or seeds)
  • the insides of sweet peppers
    (speaking from experience, be judicious about hot peppers - the seeds are the 
    hot parts)
  • ginger peels or dry roots
  • herb stems
  • the occasional squeezed lemon rind
  • the garlic ends from grating, and old garlic cloves
I do not put lime rinds in (too sour). Often I have a chicken carcass to use, but you don't need it. Plain vegetable broth is very versatile. 

Keep the bag in your freezer to add leftover vegetable cuts as they appear. Then starting the broth is SO EASY!

Take a LARGE pot, place it in the sink. Dump in frozen vegetable pieces until pot is roughly full. Yes, full. Add water, leaving an inch or so room at the top.

Using good body mechanics, move the pot to the stove. Add:
  • about 2 tablespoons of salt (I use Kosher salt)
  • 1 Tablespoon of whole peppercorns
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • I often add a sheet of nori wrap (for the iodine and other trace minerals)
If there are garlic and ginger ends in the mix, you don't need any more spices, but that's totally up to you.

Bring to a boil, turn down to a simmer for at least 4 hours, or more. Vegetables will lose their colour - that's all the goodness going into the broth. Taste for salt, add if needed. 

Cool (we often cool overnight). Skim for fat (if there are chicken or beef bones) and strain, throwing old vegs (no meat) into compost bin. Pour into muffin tins. Mine hold about 1/4c (60 ml) each. Freezing in bigger amounts means thawing takes quite some time unless you have an induction cooktop (I do, but I still prefer the 1/4c size for easy measuring). 

Freeze. Pop out and store in extra large ziploc bag until needed. Measure out easily (4= 1 cup/250 ml). I use broth for rice, risotto, soups, stews etc, while I am collecting MORE veg discards for the next batch. 

This broth allows you to control the salt (have you LOOKED at broth labels?) AND make stews and soups with broth loaded in goodness. AND not throw out waste.

Friday, 2 January 2015

Savor or Savour?

With the "u", of course, because I'm Canadian, and contrary, and because I like the British spelling

My One Word for 2015: Savour. 

Looking back, my word for 2014 was "play", which I posted, and then that was my last blog post for the year. It has been interesting to observe how the concept of play wove itself into my awareness: to be fair I have done much more work than play, I did not become a play expert!

What I love about One Words is that while I have forgotten pretty well any of my previous "resolutions" through the years, the One Word of the past two years underpinned my focus and provide an intentionality in listening to my heart. And listening for the whisper of God's leading. These threads follow me and remain visible in the warp and woof of my life tapestry: Worthy... Play... and this year, Savour. 

I'm young enough to be healthy and active, old enough to be 'Nan' to our new grandson, young enough to want to grow, and old enough to know that it's the tension between opposites that keeps life interesting.

And so, given that there's already been a fair amount of seasoning in my life (some sweet, some salty, some sour, some bitter, and yes, some savoury), it's time to savour the flavour (unintended rhyme) of my life as it is today. 

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

A Little White Space

The last blog was about my Word for 2014... and interestingly this is a follow up piece on A Little White Space. The Diva's challenge this week is all about zentangles with white space.

Helen at A Little Lime is amazingly good at this and I am in awe of her sensibility of art. 

We planned this getaway for February. In truth, it was planned for 2013 but then Dan & Amelia decided to use the Alberta holiday "Family Day" to get married - and today they've achieved their FIRST ANNIVERSARY!

We are in Playa del Carmen on the Caribbean coastline... it is warm and lovely, the sand is a cross between the fluffiest brown sugar and icing sugar. We have the Happy Gang here (3 kids + son-in-law, plus Jason & Justina hurrah!) and it's been a relaxing and wonderfully great gustatory week.

So this quiet condo on the north end of the Quintana Avenue strip is a place of rest, games, laughter, cervezas, tacos (oh my so good!) and white space.

The first is a stylized palm frond...

The second was inspired by the wedding anniversary.

And for good measure - a photo I took with some of the #happygangcsvw at a wee hole in the wall amazingly great taco place. The proprieter asked us to tell everyone how good Tacos El Primo Iñor is - and we unreservedly recommend them! 

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Setting the tone

It seems that the Diva always has an interesting challenge: this week's was particularly apropos... for me.

My one word seemed very private last year, and then seems very flippant this year... but here it is:

...and while it may sound a bit strange, I'm going to work on playing!

Sunday, 12 January 2014

What day is it already?

Some days it's good that time passes quickly, others, not so much! I love doing Zentangle challenges from The Diva, but weekdays are SO busy, Saturdays are usually full, and I pause on Sunday: which is a day late for the challenge! 

But here's this past week's challenge celebrating the New Year. Subtle!  
Wishing you all a wonderful 2014!
Tangles I know I used: Florz, Groovy, Pokeroot, Virg, Sugarcane, Punch... plus a bunch of names I forget.

Monday, 2 December 2013

What's Next?

Better busy than bored is my motto.

It's been busy! I'm not bored! But I'm not doing enough drawing and zentangling. (Although the Paint Spot has truly profited from my 'good intentions'!) It's been a long time since I've done one of the Diva's challenges - though I FAITHFULLY look at them every week. I just don't seem to have the mental space/time to put pen to paper until Sunday... the only day I can't submit!

Brene Brown stopped me cold one day when I listed to her say the following: "Unused creativity is NOT benign".


Really... I didn't hear that right. She couldn't have said "NOT benign".

Yep. She did. She really said it. 

Working on expressing my creativity. Loving how it makes me feel.

Boo-kee, Caykes, Well, String

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Busy and slow

It's been a busy week, 
but a lovely slow weekend...

The Diva's challenge was to use Knightsbridge and Tipple... duo tangle. It was fun and it was interesting to see where it went. 

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Have I learned my lesson?

I'm a planner. Ask any of my friends. I'm pretty good at it. 

This weekend was a fun little trip to Calgary, 3 hours south. Friday after work was the PERFECT drive. Sunny, warm, golden fields and trees just turning to autumn colours. I had cobbled together a new "Drive" playlist and the music was LOUD.

I got to the airport, suffered louts at the gas station (2 cut in front of me in line!) and went to pick up my friend, whom I adore. She's everything I'm not - tall (!), always gorgeous, relaxed, and always in the moment (while I'm always looking ahead..). I love how she sees life beautifully. She is a tad disorganized, however, and so I had NO idea what flight (I'd been given a time only... and no, didn't have any more details). In the end I had the wrong time, wrong airline and wrong originating city. 

I wasn't annoyed, but I was a wee bit impatient. 

Here's where the humility comes in. After we finally connected, I realized: I had lost my parking card. So it was $25.20 to pay for the day. Grr. We had a lovely evening talking over supper and watching Brene Brown's TED Talks. Then I lost my hotel room card this morning.

Now I'm home. And I left my laptop power cord AT the hotel! Good grief. I never do these things. So either it's early-onset dementia, OR I'm supposed to learn something. I hope I have. This lack of focus is driving me crazy!

Last night and this morning I finished off the Diva's latest challenge. I LOVE the colours. I love the simplicity of B&W zentangles, but I'm always drawn in by colour. Always. 

I took Diva's and LeeAnn's wonderful suggestions for how to use colour - so I wet the tile and dropped watercolour pigments on top, let it dry and then started the tangling! This has been a wonderful lesson...

Time to shut down the computer (to save power... another friend will return the cord to me tomorrow)

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

What's for supper?

I call my cookbook "But I JUST Fed Them Yesterday!", and no, that's not a joke.

I am a competent cook. Not a great one, but a good one, with occasional flashes of brilliance. To be really good, I'd have to think about food more, but to be completely honest, food is wonderful when I'm hungry, but not that captivating if I'm sated, which is most of the time. Wine, on the other hand... but that's another post!

Today is a lovely serotinal September day and when I got into my oven-hot car after work, I immediately thought that this was the right day for my favourite hot-day meal: Lemon Spaghetti.

I actually saw this meal made on TV. It might be the only recipe I have from a TV show! But it is perfection on a hot summer evening. We paired it with a Gray Monk Pinot Gris - fruity, slightly effervescent, a beautiful background note to the pasta, fresh lemon, parmesan and the fresh green of basil. If it were colder, I might think of adding a grind or two of fresh pepper, but not on a beautiful hot day like today!

Fresh Lemon Spaghetti

Squeeze about 3 lemons for about 1/2 c fresh juice.
(Zest one of the lemons first)
Finely grate about 2/3c fresh parmesan cheese
Chop about 1/2c fresh basil.

Boil 1 lb (package) of spaghetti or spaghettini according to the directions on the package. Drain and put back into pot.

Drizzle about 1/4c GOOD olive oil over and stir.
Add in lemon juice, parmesan and basil. Stir well. Serve.

Since Matt and Tara and Alex were all here for supper, we barbecued a strip loin steak and cut it into thin strips to add a little protein, and added some sourdough bread.

Monday, 15 July 2013

Circuitous Thinking

First day of work. It rained crazy-making. Would whoever is doing a daily rain dance, please STOP? The sump pump (which kindly pumps out the low spot for several neighbours as well) was going for hours throughout the day (at 2000 gal/hr)... Blessedly the rain had gone by the time I went home from work.

I took a first try at my first DuoTangle challenge from the Diva. Interrresssting!

I will try another approach, but I try to do my first without looking at anyone else's... maybe now I will check out how others are handling the challenge.

Tangles: Cirquital and Opus

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Walk on!

I'm on a hiatus between jobs, and STILL there is very little time to play. I think it must be a personality flaw...

I've been getting lots done though - there was a surprise family wedding photo session in our backyard July 6 (young friends)... only 48 hours notice for 40-ish relatives! But some emergency weeding had everything looking just fine just in time, (THANK you Shantelle and Tara!) and the storms held off, so all was well. 

Yesterday I injured my toe - not too badly but it did require 3 stitches. So I got home, put my foot up and had my wine close by, and a good novel in hand. First time since my last day um, 2 weeks ago... 
(I originally posted this B&W photo and my son didn't notice the bandages; he thought I was being "arty".)

I've taken a slower day today, but it IS mid-evening and I've just finished the Diva's challenge from this week.

She asked us to use a stencil. Now here's the thing. In the distant past, we had a house in Whitehorse (Yukon - think 1898 Gold Rush) and I stencilled stars and flowers and art deco all over. It was amazing (I know, but really it was great). 

This spring we had a boarder arriving, so I cleaned up (!) and I threw out all the old stencils, thinking it was unlikely I would need them. 
Always what happens!
So I kept looking and found a box FULL of Creative Memories art cards. Thumbing through, Calgary and Southern Alberta flood recovery is still on my mind, so the cowboy boot was pulled... Walk on, Albertans!
Patterns I know I used: Shattuck, Huggins, Jonqal, N'zeppel, Finery, Bunzo, Inapod

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Variations on a theme

The Diva's challenge takes a deceptively simple tangle "Birdie Feet" ... 

What can I do with that?

Learn a few more borders, apparently!

Tangles I know I used: Birdie Feet, Bird on a Wire, Puffle, Assunta/Paizel, Eyelet & Ribbon, Shattuck, Unme

Friday, 28 June 2013

You are not alone (part 2)

Thinking of those struggling with the huge challenges of flooding in southern Alberta 

and in the Himalayas, India...

Here's another tangle I drew while thinking of hope... (first one here)

Rope for working together, pearls and shell for finding both unexpected beauty and treasure, and new growth.

Tangles I know I used: Perk, Twisted Rope, Pokeroot, Purk

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

You are not alone

A couple years ago I heard a wise woman discuss how our words fail us when we hope to offer comfort. Too many times what we say feels trite... too small... and not helpful.

The feelings and hopes behind those words are not small or trite, it's just that the words fail us.

She suggested that there are words that help, are true, and run deep:
"you are not alone"

Really, that's usually what we want, what we need to hear when the going is tough, rough and hard.

Calgary, Uttarakhand (India): you are not alone. We stand with you - in thought, in prayer, in donations, sometimes even right beside you with a hand (or a shovel). 

You are not alone.

My prayer is that out of this time there will be beauty and growth. I don't know how, but I know it can happen.

The Diva's challenge can be found here. Tangles I know I used: Copada, Purk, Kandysnake, Pais, Msst

Part 2 here

Saturday, 22 June 2013

The gift of a moment

Carmyn Joy is a gifted young artist. I'm barely biased at all - she photographed our daughter's wedding!

Take two minutes to breathe with Carmyn: 

in the small, find joy

(I tried to embed this vimeo right here, but technology is not behaving. Click on the link... go on... it's 2 minutes. Go for it. What are you waiting for?)

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

No rules

I like working within the rules mostly - things just seem to work out better. 

Well, not rules, exactly, but guidelines?

I love process, I love how good ideas put together create more than they were alone.

So a zentangle without using zentangles... eeek. Challenge posted on the Diva's website...

It was fun, but I like a little more structure in my world! Or, as I've been known to say: "JUST let me plan it: then I can be spontaneous!"

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Getting back to it

It's been a hectic month... although sort of one of those months where I can't really tell what I've accomplished... There was weeding, many guests for meals, more weeding and oh oops, a very sore arm/neck (physio is busy till next Thursday).  

Oh, and I applied for and was offered (and accepted) a new job, and am starting mid July...

Here's my playing with the Diva's latest challenge:

The challenge is all about the grid "unchained". I did rather enjoy the way patterns make new patterns together. Ah, another metaphor for life. I LOVE metaphors!

I also decided on a signature block. We'll see if that changes over time.

Patterns I know I used (not many this time): large is Mooka, small include Hurry, Onomato.

It's been a good weekend: more tangles for fun:

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Balancing Act

The road to hell… paved with good intentions. So went my intent to post something in response to the Diva’s challenge every week!

But I took time today to let some of the busy-ness out of my brain.

This challenge was to use white and dark in equal balance. 

In life, I like balance, but I hate dark. And this, like life, isn’t perfectly balanced as I can’t count worth beans! But the play of dark to light helps me see similar patterns from different perspectives. Yep. That's a metaphor!

Patterns I know I used: Hollibaugh, Grass Border & Droplet, Dyzzee,

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Earth Day

My Earth day Zentangles

The first just happened. I didn't really know where I was going with it. A friend commented that it is very botanical, likely because here in cool Alberta I really want spring. Too true!

The second was inspired partially through Helen Williams at A Little Lime because I really wanted to learn how to do a scrolled feather... and I love the pattern! This is also my first foray into including colour in Zentangle art...