December 10, 2013

Vrolijk Kerstfeest!

Je suis une grincheuse.

There are a lot of things that I loathe about Christmas, most of which revolve around the crass consumerism on display come November 1st.  Three weeks ago, I was grocery shopping in the local Valumart and I saw a rack of Christmas goodies that had been reduced for "quick sale".  This depressed moi.  Of course the stupid cookies were half off; who wants to eat Christmas cookies on the 19th of November?

Christmas bitchery aside, there are some things about Christmas that I do like:
  • making sugar cookies with the kids  "No, we are not making witch cookies; it's Christmas! You will clean up EVERY sprinkle you just dumped on that floor.  And stop licking the spoon!"
  • "Baby, It's Cold Outside"    It's not rapey, dammit! *
  • a glass of Bailey's on ice  "I have not had three in a row!"
  • donating to the Salvation Army Christmas Kettle   "That's my loony, Mumma! Give it back! It's for the Dollar Store!"
  • the candle service at our local United Church on Christmas Eve  "Of course he burned his finger! What moron gives a toddler a lit candle?" 
And then there's Sinterklaas and the Zwarte Pieten at the Dutch Club.  Not sure what to say about this.  Some history:  Sinterklaas arrives in the Netherlands on the 5th of December with his slaves / servants  helpers in tow, to distribute candy and goodies to children.

Here's Nathaniel, posing with the festive trio:

It was difficult to convince the ten-year-old to sit on Sinter's knee, but when I threatened tears, he relented.  Little does he know that he's gonna sit on Sinter each and every year until he's out of the house...

Oh-ho.  What's that I hear in the gallery?  Murmurs of blackface?  Yes, loyal readers, that is blackface that you see.  And here's some more.  (Because I'm getting long in the tooth, it's time for me to start taking blurry pictures of the telly too.  Hi Oma!)

I captured the above shot while the kiddies were hanging out with a creepy clown:

Bozo cracked: "that one's for Facebook, put it on Facebook!"
Frankly, I find the clown to be more disturbing than the Zwarte Piets.

As you can see from my pictures, there's a gouda amount a cheese at the Dutch Club.  

But, let's get back to black here.  Here's a photo I took in 2008:

And another shot of the racist child:

Wait, what's that?  He's not racist?  Oh, but he's sitting with two teenage girls in blackface.  They must be racist then.  Oh, they're not?  True, I didn't hear any racial slurs.  

Here's the problem.  These Black Petes remind people of a time when blacks were persecuted as a cultural norm.  Compounding this issue is that the Black Peter tradition began in the first quarter of the 19th century, before slavery was abolished.  People, thinking people, don't want to be reminded of this.  The tradition is definitely NOT politically correct.  And I am nothing, if not p.c.  

In fact, there has been trouble brewing over the Zwarte Pieten for years.  The characters put people in mind of this:

Minstrel Show image from Wikipedia
And this:

illustration from Kate Upton's Golliwogg and Friends, 1895

And this:

Zwarte Piet image from

By the way, that last picture is a Zwarte Piet.  These caricatures reinforce negative stereotypes and attitudes about blacks.  If I were black, how would Zwarte Pieten make me feel?  There is my answer.  I hate to be the one to piss on a parade, but I don't think that Black Piet is a positive symbol for Christmases to come.

There is no pat solution.  Black Piet is as much a part of Sinterklaas, as the elves and Mrs. Claus are to Santa.  The original dim-witted Piet was indeed a slave, then he morphed into a "servant" and today he's a "helper".  He's become smarter over the years, due to pressure from the thinking public.  It might be time for the Netherlands to smarten up too.

Because I like to end on a happy note, I have included some Christmas music and hilarity here at the end of this post.

I participated in a cookie exchange in 2010.  Here's a photo of some cookies that I received from a Scroogey baker, with a quarter to reference size of said biscuits.  That was the last cookie exchange that I participated in.

7 crumbs do not a cookie make

Here are some more pictures from the happy day at the Dutch Club followed by some tunes for your listening pleasure.

The wacky Tomato Soup band, comprised entirely of crusty Dutchmen, entertained the families while the children beat each other about the head and neck with balloons:

Gwen dancing with one of the Dykehoppers:

Action shot! I convinced Nathaniel to do a traditional Dutch dance with me.  

Merry Christmas!

Soundtrack: Baby, It's Cold Outside from Glee.  I love this version.

*  If you are interested in a discussion about the "rapey" aspect of the song Baby, It's Cold Outside, click on the song title.  You can also watch this video, which is from the 1949 film, Neptune's Daughter.  Spoiler: sleaze alert.

And for the traditionalists, another version from Norah Jones and Willie Nelson:

Merry Christmas!

November 07, 2013


I went to avenge my 7th grade loss to Cheryl Miller.  Cheryl was a doughy brunette who wore too much makeup and she had perfect feathered hair.  Not jealous.  I can't remember the word that did me in; however, I do remember Cheryl's smug smile when I was eliminated.  Evil Admission forthcoming:  Whap! I wanted to slap that smile off her face.

Cheryl, I apologize.  You deserved to win.

Last night, I attended the 1st Annual Literacy London Adult Spelling Bee. The event was a fundraiser for Literacy London's programs and services.  I'm a writer and a librarian; I am a staunch supporter of anything that improves literacy.  To be literate is to live.  I was thrilled to support the cause in such a FUN way.

Here's Oh Bee-have - my team of competitive wordsmiths

Can I just say right now that last night was pretty much my dream night?  Let me tell you the reasons why:


Who doesn't love to shop and drink wine at the same time?  And support a great cause?

I bought this giant vintage skate by London artist, Andrew Gillet, because it is awesome.   It also reminds me of my own vintage, six dollar ice skates that I purchased many years ago from (my favourite store) The Goodwill:

This is how I feel when I wear these skates:

image from
When I brought my skates into the hockey shop to get them sharpened for the first time (they looked like they had never been worn), all the jocks in the shop had to congregate and ooh and ahh and handle them.  I'm not kidding.  The sportsdudes were in awe of my pristine, leather Playmakers.  It almost seemed like a shame to sharpen them.  They are not nearly as pretty as they were when I bought them twenty years ago, but then again, neither am I. :-) 

I also purchased six London Lightning tickets in the Silent Auction.  The game is on the fifteenth, which just happens to be my birthday.  HB to me!  

Last year, I arranged for the Lightning to visit my children's school.  The two fellows that represented the team were magnificent ambassadors and the students LOVED them.  They talked the talk, walked the walk and they could SLAMDUNK like nobody!  My kids play basketball twice a week and so I am super happy to be able to take them to see a game.  

Last shopping anecdote, I promise.  I even squeezed in a shop at The Goodwill before going to the spelling bee.  The bee was held on the 3rd floor of the Goodwill Centre building at 255 Horton Street.  Hours before, the kids, my husband and I had been shopping for indoor soccer shoes.  As I am far too cheap / parsimonious / stingy thrifty to spend upwards of fifty dollars on a pair of athletic shoes that the children will outgrow in a week, I stomped out of the sports store after purchasing nothing. 

But Mummmmmm, I like the pink ones! I want the pink ones!  
Me:  The pink ones are $69!
I want the pink ones!  
Me:  You're not getting the pink ones.
You're mean! You never buy me anything. blah blah blah blah blah 
Me (thinking, not saying, people):  I'll show you mean, you little bee-yotch...

Hours later, as the family dropped me off at the event, RB said:  "make sure you look for indoor soccer shoes for the kids."  Still stinging from the shopping expedition, I said:  "The Goodwill will not have a pair of men's size seven-and-a-half indoor soccer shoes there!"  But because I am a dutiful wife, I checked out the shoes and wouldn't you know, the ONLY PAIR of indoor soccer shoes on the rack...  I don't even have to say it, people.  You KNOW!  I was sooooo happy.  They look brand new and cost only $10!  SWEET!!!!!  And they're by AllDayIDreamAboutSex (Adidas for those of you who are too young to remember that acronym, or were out of it in the mid-seventies).  

So I still have to get a pair for G, but N is done.
Okay, focus Christine, back to the Spelling Bee!


The dinner, by Local Food Skills (a London program that gives people the opportunity to "gain real skills and work with real food in a state of the art commercial kitchen") was designed to look like a kid's lunchbox, but the food inside was definitely for a mature palate:

I am a total foodie and this dinner was FABULOUS.

The spicy fried chicken was the best I've ever had, and the pumpkin soup was also the best that I've ever had (mainly because of the addition of the crunchy roasted pumpkin seeds which were the most delicious contrast to the rich, creamy soup).  The purple slaw was also the best slaw that I have ever had and I am a coleslaw snob.  Don't even get me started on coleslaw.  I could write an entire blog entry about it.  The potato salad was NOT the best that I have ever had; however, it was delicious.  I liked the green bits (celery and dill? and it was not loaded in fatty sour cream and/or dreaded Miracle Whip dressing).  Our dessert was a chocolate pudding. I do not eat pudding but I made an exception because there was whipped cream and chocolate shaved on top.  It was divine.  

Kudos also to the food people for using a recyclable lunchbox and containers (all paper) and bamboo cutlery.  The bamboo gave me a bit of a nails on chalkboard reaction initially, but I got over it.  



I'm not going to lie.  The spelling was HARD!  Really hard!  There were 12 -15 five person teams with funny names:  Antidisestablishmentarianism, Oh Beehave, The Queen Bees, The Bee Gees, The Bookworms et cetera.  We all competed at the same time.  The moderator, Kevin - a fellow librarian - would say the word, provide a definition and then use it in a sentence.   Here's Kevin, posing with Austin:

We all had a minute to write down how we thought the word should be spelled and then as a team, we had to decide on the correct spelling based on everyone's answers.  The captain wrote down the final spelling and a runner took it up to the panel of judges:  Murray Faulkner (ex-chief of police), Gary Ennett with CBC Radio, and Becky Howse from Adult, Alternative and Continuing Education at TVDSB. 

The first word of the evening was a trick, as it has three correct spellings: maneuver.  I am not going to give you all three; google it up if you're curious.

Here is the list of all the other words we had to spell (I'm pretty sure that I spelled them properly here):  dieffenbachia, peccadillo, isosceles, connoisseur, sarsaparilla, deliquesce, kohlrabi, ceilidh, schottische, carrageenan, alstroemeria, onomatopoeia and quinzhee.  Because I am obnoxious, let me tell you that peccadillo, isosceles, kohlrabi, carrageenan and onomatopoeia were dead-easy pour moi.  I know, you hate me.  
Our team came in second place!!!!!!!!  We were very happy getting 8 of the 15 words; the winners got 9 correct.  We lost to the Bookworms, whose captain, an old colleague of mine - Beth - is a retired librarian.  Earlier in the evening, she told the room that she was the world spelling bee champion in Grade 3!  Come on!!!!!

We played another game in which we had to come up with the longest list of homonyms (fair / fare, here /hear).  Our team came in first and we each won twenty downtown bucks!

The last game we played was Boggle.  We thought we won again with 21 words in a minute, but we are convinced that the judges gave it to another team, who also got 21, because we won the first game.  we weren't competitive at all...

The final event of the evening was the Canadianisms elimination draw.  Thirty words, 10 bucks each, last one standing won a weekend in NOTL.

I purchased Sasquatch and was one of five people remaining, when I was eliminated.  I roared like a Sasquatch when they pulled my "name" out of the bag.  


In short, the evening was SUPERLATIVE; I was spellbound.  I will be studying the dictionary so that we can win next year's event.  Look out, Beth.

Soundtrack:  L-O-V-E by Nat King Cole!

Here are some links to organizations that I mentioned above:

Literacy London

October 22, 2013


When I was 9 or 10, my Grandfather (Dido to me) and I used to drive around Welland on Saturday mornings looking for yard sales.  He would smoke a big stogie (Muriel Magnum) while hunched over the wheel of his beater.  My Nana wouldn't let him smoke in the "nice" car and so whenever we drove together it was in a haze of blue smoke.  Dido's eyesight was terrible - he could barely stay on the right side of the road - and we occasionally jumped the curb, but this was living!

Back then, in the late 70's / early 80's, yard sales were a different animal.  First and foremost, we didn't live in a throwaway society like we do today, and so there were a lot less things to buy.  Dido was on the lookout for tools, broken lawn mowers (that he would fix and resell), junky bicycles (that he would fix and resell) and other "manly" things.  I loved riding around with my Grandfather; I loved his crappy car, I loved the smell of his cigar.

More often than not, there was a hand-lettered FOR SALE sign in my grandparents' driveway in front of a line of bicycles, a lawn mower or two and maybe some furniture.  I am not sure that Dido made much money from these sales; I think he did it for fun.  And he would often give the stuff away for nothing.  At his funeral, a sobbing couple showed up, and told us about his generosity, how he had loaned them money interest-free.  This was the kind of man he was.  

My Mom also used to drag me to flea markets and auction sales, often against my will.  She would hold up strange items of unknown provenance and ask: "do you know what this is used for?"  Over time, I became much better at this game and now I do the same thing with my own kids.  I am sure that they despise it as much as I did.  :-)

Here is a picture of one of my own mystery objects, which I have yet to identify.  Purchased at the Goodwill for $3, it begged to come home with me.

I think it's a weight of some sort.  It's solid wood on the bottom and there is a loose iron ring on top.  The ring is attached to the block of wood by a scalloped base:

Anyone have an idea what this is?  I suppose I can use it as a weapon - wallop the kids with it.


The first thing I can remember buying at a junk sale with my own money was a pink rhinestone bracelet for $4.  It looked a bit like this:

The bangle was pretty and delicate -- everything I was not!  I held on to the bracelet for more than twenty years, never wearing it, but occasionally removing it from my jewellery box, putting it on my wrist and admiring my arm.  When I began selling junque on ebay in the late 90's, I decided to sell the bracelet.  It sold for $240.  I was quite pleased with the profit.  The woman who bought it was thrilled:  she had a vast collection of deco bangles.  I could tell you all sorts of stories about the things I've sold on ebay and the $ I've made, but that is not what this blog entry is about.  It's about serendipity!

On the weekend, Gwen and I went to the Goodwill By the Pound store to look for fabric for her Hallowe'en costume (mummy).  The store used to be called Buck a Pound, but inflation has necessitated a name change :-)  I was disgusted by the crowds and the filth and was not in the mood to scrounge.
N.B: If you ever go, wear gloves!

So I walked around observing people, which was entertaining and occasionally revolting.  I found a book for Nath, which he LOVED.  He has devoured the rest of this series:

And then I spied this, in a bin full of junk:

I almost fell over.

We didn't have a lot of records when I was a kid.  Wait, let me rephrase, we did have a lot of records, but we weren't supposed to play them.  This record was my FAVOURITE.  My absolute favourite.  I played it incessantly when I was 6 or 7.  I know the words to every song on the album and their order:  as the Great Pretender wanes, I know that Rock Around the Clock is up next.

There were only 4 additional albums at the buck-a-pound that day and I am kicking myself for not buying the sealed Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass; however, I think that I was meant to find this recording.

The kids and I played the record non-stop, until R screamed: "I can only take so much. TURN IT OFF!" He was actually quite pissed.  We laughed.  I guess he's not a fan of 50's and 60's music.

The kids' favourites are Sugar Shack (just like their Uncle Ian) and Wipeout.  Here's the record and player set up in my living room, K-tel style.  Sorry there are no pictures of G and I doing the twist.

So I guess I should have some sort of point to conclude this entry with.
Thrifting is fun and profitable?
She who digs through trash finds treasure?

How about a quote from Macklemore?

I wear your granddad's clothes,
I look incredible,

I'm in this big ass coat,
From that thrift shop down the road...


Here is some information about the Buck a Pound:

And because I love my tunes, here's a sampling of Sugar Shack by Jimmy Gilmer and the Fireballs (1963):

And my fave, Chantilly Lace by the Big Bopper:

Addendum:  a day after I wrote this entry, I went to the Goodwill and hit the record goldmine!  

  • Beach Boys Endless Summer
  • Simon and Garfunkel's Greatest Hits
  • Fleetwood Mac Rumours
  • Sharon, Lois and Bram One Elephant, Deux Éléphants
  • Chubby Checker Your Twist Party
  • Queen News of the World
And only a buck a pop!

October 18, 2013

The Walking, Talking, Squawking Schoolbus

The cow went up the hill,
The cow went up the hill,
Second verse same as the first,
Never gets better, only gets worse!
The cow went up the hill...

et cetera.  ad nauseam.

This is the ONLY song that the kids would sing this morning, damn them.  They wanted to make me crazy.  Crazier.   I tried ALL of my Christian camp songs on them -

the animals they came, 
they came by twosies, twosies,

the animals they came, 
they came by twosies, twosies
elephants and
kangaroosies, oosies,
children of the lord.

Okay, maybe you can see why they didn't want to sing that one.  
They also sniffed at Titanic (who doesn't love the line - uncles and aunts, little children lost their pants?) and Fish and Chips and Vinegar  (one bottle pop, two bottle pop, three bottle pop, four bottle pop, five bottle pop, six bottle pop, seven seven bottle pop!)

Rotten kids and their rotten songs.

Here we are at 7:20am, looking and feeling sprightly:

Yes, folks the bus was small this morning.  Very small.  Djing-djing the wild poodle kept us hopping though:

in which Djang fancies himself as Elmer Fudd

Django was quite the handful this morning.  He took a giant poo in the bush near this stop:

The kids thought it was hilarious.  Of course they did.  They didn't do the scooping.  Shortly after our first fecal incident, one of the three children declared:

"I have diarrhea, I've gotta go!"

Take a wild guess which one said that.  
You are right.

I said:  "go in the bush".

He said:  "NO!"

I said:  "I'm going to write about it on my blog."


much laughter.

It was my turn to sing again:

Floatin' down the gutter
on a piece of bread and butter,

[splft splft! - you make a loud tooting sound at this point in the song]


splft splft!

Floatin' down the sewer,
Like a piece a horse manure,

splft splft!

The kids seemed to like this song A LOT.

I will not relate the next poo incident as it is disgusting.  :-)  I am funny.

It involved the dog.  Enough said.

Here we are, at the halfway mark, shortly after we were nearly flattened by a rogue cyclist:

Kids are happy here.  They actually like singing and walking.

Cool spraypaint we saw -- BOYS!!!!:

Vanity shot rolling eyes -

looking super hot at 7:50am.  Shrub and Djing-djang look good though.  

We were getting thirsty, some of us were complaining and we came across this in Victoria Park:

Sophie wanted to drink like a dog, so we let her.  This was hilarious!  Sophie's mother, I apologize.  :-)

Afer our drink, we had under ten minutes to go.  The entire walk took us 50 minutes.  It took me 1 hour and 45 mins.


On a somewhat unrelated note, I will leave you with some pictures of the mystery house that I am obsessed with.  This house is at the base of the Wortley Rd hill at Stanley Street and I walked by it on the way home.  It reminds me of a fun house, with its colours; however, it  sort of creeps me out because there are a series of outdoor "paths" and "tunnels" which are covered in barbed wire and metal netting.  I am thinking it has something to do with animal training.  It's very weird.  If anyone knows what the hell is going on behind this fence, I would love to know...  because I am OBSESSED...

imposing fence that runs the length of the property

you can just see the wire at the top

see that fence! what is going on behind it?  sorry I didn't take any pictures of the actual house... it is situated on top of a hill near train tracks.  Next time.


Lastly, here is some information about the walking school bus program from  I think that it is an AWESOME initiative.

Why develop a walking school bus?

Studies show that fewer children are walking and biking to school, and more children are at risk of becoming overweight. Changing behaviors of children and parents require creative solutions that are safe and fun.
Implementing a walking school bus can be both.

We are going to try to do this once a week!  I loved it.  Happy Trails!

Soundtrack:  The Proclaimers - I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)

Wed, Oct 30 - two grandparents, five kids, one dog.  Highlights:  Nathaniel was dragged through Victoria Park on his back when Django bounded after a squirrel.  We laughed our HEADS OFF.  It was like something out of the Little Rascals.

October 13, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving, Passive Aggressive Style

Ooof!  It's that time of year again.  The time of year where families happily unite over turkey and mash, gravy, cranberries, squash, stuffing, brussel sprouts... or maybe you're having manicotti instead.  Or pizza.  And maybe you're fighting.

Best not to dwell...

I have been invited to two family feasts - one at my Mom's (above for manicotti) and one at my s.i.l.'s (traditional).  I have been asked to bring NOTHING to my mother's except for an empty relish tray (she is going to fill it with--- relish?), and a DESSERT to my sil's.

Like I am going to bring "nothing" to my Mom's!  When I asked her what to bring (on Friday afternoon, she said, well you're leaving it a little late, aren't you?)  That's how I roll, Mom, that's how I roll.

Bring nothing.  gah.  I mean, I am definitely a rudesby, but even I am not that rude.

update - I am writing this one day later.  I made pumpkin chocolate chip cookies and brought them to my Mom's.   They seemed to be a hit.  They looked gooey and chocolatey and how can you go wrong with that?  I also made the dough in less than 15 minutes and that included jumping into the van and driving down the street to the grocery to pick up the can of pumpkin that I forgot to buy the day before.  Baking time was 10 mins.  EASY!!!!!

So I brought the flowers on the table above and a bunch of cookies.  And my cheerful disposition of course.  And the food and the company were lovely.  Thanks, Nan.


Feast #2 - Last year, I brought a dessert to my m.i.l.'s (pumpkin cheesecake), and due to the abundance of desserts that others brought, I don't think anyone actually ate my dessert.  What was I thinking anyway?  Who wants cheesecake after gorging themselves on turk?

I realize that I have just told a lie, two people took a sliver of the p.c. to be nice.  Thank you, food troopers.  I am going to sound rude here again, but I resent being asked to contribute food that no one actually eats.

Bitchy?  Maybe.

I guess I should just be thankful that anyone invites me to their home for Thanksgiving, especially as I am airing the dirty family laundry on my blog.

Prediction:  next year, I dine alone.

I wanted to bring roasted vegetables with maple ginger dressing to the inlaws, which EVERYONE eats because they are completely delicious but I have been instructed by voicemail not to do this.  I am sorely tempted to bring the veg, but rather than incur the wrath of all, I will bring dessert.

And so I find myself in the position of having to bring a dessert that no one will eat.  I don't like to make dessert.  At this point in my life, I gravitate to the roasted vegetables -- yum -- and tend to skip dessert because I am usually too full of turkey.  I am tempted to bring chocolate chip cookies to the inlaws too because who doesn't like a chocolate chip cookie? but I thought I might get in doo-doo for making something unseasonal.  Truth be told, I would be making them knowing that no one will eat them and then I could take the leftovers home (people tend to decline my leftover desserts), and pop them in the freezer for the kids' lunchboxes.  soundbite: evil laugh -  mwah, ha ha ha hah ahhh...

So I am perplexed.  What shall I make?  You already know that last year's pumpkin cheesecake was a bomb - not da bomb! - and so I am not making that again.  Pumpkin pie?  I make a good pumpkin pie, but it's a lot of work.  And I am not a fan of pumpkin pie.  I have a great recipe for it though.  You make it entirely from scratch, using a pie pumpkin that you may or may not have grown.  rolling eyes.  It all seems very Martha, doesn't it?  Meaning that after you make it, you'll feel compelled to tell everyone that you made the filling from a bona fide pumpkin that you may or may not have picked yourself, and you'll sit back smugly as someone else pulls out a $2.99 Jane Parker pie from the A & P.  Snap!

Still puzzled, I googled "thanksgiving desserts best" (not my best keyword search but it worked) and came up with this, from the Food and Wine website:

Apple Galette
I personally think that the apples look a little too carmelized here burnt here, but that's me.  The recipe is Jacques Pépin's Country Apple Galette.  I am assuming that JP - French chef extraordinaire - knows how to make a kickass galette and so that's what I will attempt.  Right now it's 10am and we have to be at the inlaws for 1pm.  I better get on it.

A galette is actually not difficult.  It looks impressive, but there is little fiddling around with pastry - the messier it looks, the better.

So I pulled out the Braun -- best food processor EVER - and made the crust.  (I actually did this part yesterday and let it chill in the fridge overnight).  The recette calls for 1 stick of butter plus 2 tbsp, but that is just annoying because we don't buy our butter in sticks here in Canada.  So what you'll really need is a 1/2 cup, plus 2 tbsp of beurre.

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup of butter plus 2 tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/3 cup ice water

Whir together the flour, sugar, salt and butter for about 5 seconds.  Add the ice water and blend until dough is just coming together.  (10 seconds?).  Dump out into bowl and mix it together with your hands, just to get it into a ball.  Wrap it up in some saran wrap and chill for at least an hour.

That's where I'm at.

I am going to the kitchen to roll out my dough and decorate it with apples.


Okay, it's in the oven and I am STOKED.  That dessert was super-easy.  It's only 10:30 right now!  That means that I have a LOT of time to do totally selfish activities like write this blog, knit my sweater and read before we have to go!  yes!!!!!

Let me tell you about the dessert.  I dragged G off the tube (but Mumma, Jessie's on!!) and put her to work.  Here she is, tethered to our island  kiddy table, peeling and coring apples with the best tool ever invented, which I purchased at a yard sale for $3 (they wanted $5, but I am a haggler):

Pampered Chef Apple Peeler and Corer

The tool had never been used; it was still in the box.  

Can I just tell you that this implement is a marvel?  It is so easy to use that even the G can set it up and do it herself and she's only 7!  You crank that handle and the magic happens:

And look at the pretty ribbons of apple peel.  Eat your heart out, Ma Ingalls!
Maybe others are already aware of the peeler and are annoyed by moi, but I am new to it and using it is like watching a baby being born.  Seriously, I am THAT excited.  Look at this bowl full of peeled, cored and sliced apples.  I am tearing up; such beauty.  It took Gwen less than 5 minutes to assemble apples, peel, core and slice them.  Crying here.

Okay, must compose myself.  Moving on...

Next step, roll out dough.  This took less than 5 minutes and it didn't stick to my counter, rolling pin or hands (secret? use lots of flour!).  I folded it in half after rolling and dumped it onto the cookie sheet.  This picture also makes me cry.

I chopped up half of the apples and threw them on the dough, then stacked the rest of the apples in what was supposed to be a pleasing arrangement.  I give myself 5 out of 10 for arranging, but I hate fussing so this is what I ended up with after I dotted said apples with honey, butter and a mixture of cinnamon and sugar:

I am impressed.

It's baking right now, it smells awesome in here, and it has 20 mins to go.  I cannot wait to see the finished product!!!!


Thank you, technology.

Here is the galette, straight from the oven and it looks amazing!  I feel compelled to add two pictures because I am so proud.  

My my my.

I hope it tastes good. What am I talking about? It is going to taste exactly like the BEST GALETTE IN THE WORLD should taste!

Happy Thanksgiving!  I am thankful for my family, friends, health and life.


A note on the cookies:  these cookies are not crispy.  The pumpkin makes them soft and slightly cakey. There is no way around this, unfortunately.  Also note that there are no eggs in these cookies.  The pumpkin does the work of the egg.

this recipe is from:

Note on the galette:  I used Honeycrisp apples.  I hate Delicious apples.  The honey I used came from Clovermead in Aylmer and you need to use more than a tbsp.  Oh and for my galette, I made more pastry than the recipe called for (about a third more).  I baked the tart for 50 minutes exactly.


Addendum:  see if you can spot my galette in this picture:

hmmmmn... where could it be?  There's a big bowl of strawberries, an apple pie, an angel food cake, two pumpkin pies, another apple pie and...  oh yes, my galette.  That's it, on top of the "piano" box, under all the tinfoil and pot lid. mmm... looks so delicious, doesn't it?

In case you doubt my recollection of events, here is another picture in which you can see it peeking out from beneath all the crap piled on top of it.

Soundtrack:  Alanis Morrisette's Thank You

Addendum - that galette was DELICIOUS!  Even Nathanimal, who declares himself a hater of pie, ate three pieces and this morning, he asked me to make another!  Who knew?