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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Chocolate, Nut, Molasses Cookies

Cooler weather always brings out the desire to have hot tea and eat wonderful cookies. These cookies are my latest experiment in the kitchen.  The recipe makes about 2 1/2 dozen cookies that are about 2 inches in diameter. You can make the "drops" larger or smaller to your liking.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 3/4 cup molasses (black treacle if you live in Africa)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 gently rounded tablespoons unsweetened chocolate (I used cocoa powder)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (I used a mix of white and whole wheat)
  • 1 cup of  oatmeal (or enough to make a drop cookie batter, see photo)
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Preparation:


In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar; beat in eggs, vanilla and salt, beating until well blended. Beat in chocolate and stir in flour and chopped walnuts.  Add oatmeal until you have the desired consistency.



Drop by heaping teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart on well-greased baking sheet.I have a coated sheet so I did not grease the pan.


Bake in preheated 350° oven 10 minutes, or until edges are crisp. Cool for 1 minute; remove to rack to cool completely.



I enjoyed these cookies. You can readily taste the molasses, chocolate and nuts. If you don't like the strong flavour of molasses you could substitute about 1 cup of sugar for the molasses.  I've read that the treacle is not as dark as molasses so I'm assuming that molasses also gives the cookie a stronger flavour. 

Enjoy the cookies with hot tea or milk.


Monday, November 28, 2011

Monday & Meeting a Blogger Friend

Today is a beautiful, sunny day in Vancouver.  Though there are some grey clouds around it is a bright and beautiful day.

Taken Monday from my balcony.

Yesterday, it was so lovely to meet Kay from Medicine Hat and her Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel blog.  Kay came into the city while visiting family and friends in the Lower Mainland. We had a chance on Grey Cup day to meet and get to know one another over coffee.

The coffee shop was jam packed with students studying and cramming and people watching the Grey Cup game on the courtesy screens. At times it got a little loud, but we carried on talking over the din.


Kay and I have a mutual blogging friend, Jo, and that is how we came to know each other's blogs.  Kay has a kind heart as she was one of the people who contributed to help this little boy in Kenya.  We didn't get a chance to take a photo together.  Perhaps next time.

This is Kay.
 Kay is such a world traveller and we had a lot to talk about.  If I keep on travelling perhaps I can catch up to her journeys and perhaps some day we will have another chance to meet again.

I'm happy because this is the second blogger buddy I got to meet in person.  Both experiences have been wonderful. I hope I get even more opportunities in future to meet more blogging friends.

 To cap off the day, the BC Lions won the Grey Cup!! Yeah!!!


I was pleased to see I had captured seagulls in flight in both my photos today.



Friday, November 25, 2011

Mountains in Scripture



 For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. 

 Isaiah 55:12



Hear ye now what the Lord saith; Arise, contend thou before the mountains, and let the hills hear thy voice.

Micah 6:1


Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth.

 Luke 3:5


How lovely on the mountains Are the feet of him who brings good news, Who announces peace And brings good news of happiness, Who announces salvation, And says to Zion, 
"Your God reigns!"

Isaiah 52:7

We've had a beautiful day here today. 
I send you wishes for a wonderful weekend.

Macro Flowers ~ November 25, 2011

I'm digging around my archives to see what macro flowers I can offer up this weekend.

All of the flowers here are gone until the Spring. 

Flowers always make me smile and bring me jOy. 

I am not entirely sure what this flower is called but I believe it is a "wood anenome". 


Please join Tina at Pic Story and Maia at Macro Flowers Saturday.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Skywatch Friday

We've been having storms and very high winds today so I've dug through my archives for today's submission to Skywatch Friday. 

These photos of a June sunrise are taken from my patio.
Isn't the sky beautiful?

I miss summer already :-( 



Join in here for more beautiful skies from around the world.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

It's Gonna Be a Loud Weekend

Today the sun came out unexpectedly (to me anyway) and the sky had a beautiful blue that a few clouds could not diminish. In these days of rain and days which begin and end earlier in darkness, it is always a treat to see a blue sky.

Here it what it looked like this afternoon. There are low lying clouds that make the mountains disappear!

The City is preparing for a huge sporting event which will take place here on Friday. I have it on good authority that there was a buzz in the air downtown today much like during the Winter Olympics held in 2010.

Newly refurbished roof on BC place. At night, this big white dome on our city skyline is light up in colour.  My photo isn't that great as I took it quickly as I was walking to my acupuncture appointment.

This year's Grey Cup Festival takes place here in Vancouver from November 24-27, 2011 and the host football team is our very own BC Lions.  Downtown will be alive with free concerts and Festival activities from Friday, November 25 through Sunday, November 27th, and there are many different activities taking place for adults and children alike.  However the big event is obviously the  99th Grey Cup game on Sunday between the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and the BC Lions.


Photo credit: Grey Cup Festival Website - This is what the stadium looks like when a professional photographer takes a photo from the right location, with the right equipment.BC place is the building that looks like a tiara on the right (beyond the water).

I'll be staying away from downtown. 
Amongst other things, I don't like large and raucous crowds.  But I do hope our City puts on a good and safe event that will be remembered for years to come by those with the courage to head downtown and the funds to spend on those expensive Grey Cup tickets.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Chocolate Goodness

With the cold weather we had over the weekend, I craved hot tea and some sweet goodness. Internet surfing led me to this chocolatey concoction. It was good enough to share.

Ingredients:

Brownies
2/3 cup (125 mL) butter
2/3 cup (150 mL) milk chocolate chips (4oz/125g)
3/4 cup (175 mL) granulated sugar
3 eggs
2 tsp (5 mL) pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup (175 mL) flour (I used a mix of white and whole wheat flour)
3 -4 tbsp (30 mL) unsweetened cocoa powder
Pinch of salt (I actually omitted this)
2/3 cup (150 mL) milk chocolate chips (4oz/125g) (I omitted this too. I was low on choco chips).
Topping
1 cup (250 mL) miniature marshmallows
1/3 cup (75 mL) milk chocolate chips

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350ºF (180ºC).
2. Melt together butter and chocolate chips. Cool slightly. Whisk in sugar. Whisk in eggs, one at a time and then vanilla.
3. Stir in flour, cocoa powder, salt and chocolate chips. (I omitted the salt).
4. Pour  into prepared pan. Bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until just set (center will still be moist), sprinkle with marshmallows and chocolate chips during last 5 minutes of baking. Cool in pan on rack.

This was VERY tasty; especially good for chocolate lovers.

Notes:  I did not add the 2nd amount of chocolate chips called for. After I mixed up the batter, I realized that the original recipe was not going to produce enough batter my smallest pan. I then increased the egg (by 1), butter (by about 1/2), flour (by about 1/2, sugar (1/4 cup), and added and extra teaspoon of vanilla. The increased amounts are captured in the ingredient list above.

The end result is that the brownies were delicious but they were very soft. After sitting overnight the consistency was perfect.  I overcooked the marshmallows because I wanted to be sure the brownie mixture was fully cooked in the middle. I think next time I would wait for the brownie mixture to finish cooking and add the marshmallows for just long enough to barely melt, yet retain their shape.

Monday, November 21, 2011

A Rainy Monday

It's a pouring, rainy, gray day today. Perfect for the rain to wash the icy snow off of my patio.


See what it was a few days ago. Not a lot of snow perhaps but it was stuck like glue to the patio and it didn't melt.






Monday afternoon it looked like the photo to the left.





This is the view on a clearer day.

The weather is also perfect for a bowl of hot, steaming soup. I am low on my core vegetables today as I haven't bought any in a week.  My soup therefore omits carrots.

Ingredients:

-  brown a pound or so of minced beef (ground beef)
-  chop one large onion into chunks and add to the beef
-  chop two celery stalks and add to the beef and onions
-  add several splashes of soy sauce and brown this mixture all together, stirring occasionally
-  add 1 1/2 cups of brown rice to the browned beef and veggies and cook for a few minutes 
-  add several leaves of chopped kale leaves and continue stirring
-  add about 6 -8 cups of water and boil

Cook this mixture until the rice has softened, then check to see whether you need more water and seasonings. I always find the water has boiled down a lot because my burners only really cook on the highest heat. I like to add more water at this stage and assess the taste of things.

At this point, I added

-  a few shakes (1 tsp. or so) of oregano seasoning
-  a few more splashes of soy sauce (to taste)
-  add 3 medium, chopped potatoes
-  add 1 large, chopped yam
-  add one large can of stewed tomatoes or add several chopped fresh tomatoes.

Simmer together until the rice and potatoes are fully cooked. Keep an eye on things and stir occasionally.


It was delicious!

It is also a perfect day to finish reading my latest book, Assault on Reason by Al Gore, former US President. What an eye opening book! Very informative and fully referenced with resource material for any skeptic among you.  I highly recommend reading this book.



What activities do you like doing on a gray or rainy day?

Click here to see more beautiful places in the world and what people are doing there!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

A Baby Is Born

Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.
 As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. 

Psalm 127: 3-4

My first great nephew was born 2 weeks ago this Monday, weighing in at 8 pounds and 3 ounces. Quite a large baby for this day and age. I am glad he came into this world strong and robust.

I wanted to buy him something special as he is the first of my great nephews. His father, my nephew is an avid horseman so I've settled on a beautiful Pendleton baby blanket as one of my gifts.

This Pendleton Baby Blanket was manufactured in Pendleton, Oregon at the family's woolen mills. I was fortunate enough to take a trip there many years ago because of my interest in these woolen blankets with Indian motifs. This blanket can be used for the baby and then saved as a keepsake for when he gets older. Alternatively, it can be used by mom and dad as a cover for the lap or to place as a cover over an armchair.  The pattern is printed on both sides.
This little kimono/bunting bag was my first purchase. I thought it was a unique gift as it is made of ultra soft velour to keep the baby's skin from irritation. It is sewn shut at the bottom so no cold air gets in and can be put on baby apres bath or as extra warmth during the winter season which we are going into momentarily.

This little pajama onesie is a traditional baby sleeper with motifs that are appropriate for a baby boy.



The blanket is my Christmas gift to the baby and other two items are to celebrate his birth.

It is a joyous and exciting for me (and the rest of the family) to have a little baby in the family again.

Friday, November 18, 2011

First Snow

We've had our first snow in the city! We had our first snow on the mountains a while ago, but overnight or early this morning, we had our first snow down below. I think the snow is very early this year.

It is coming down heavily right now on the patio but it looks like small balls of hail and not light fluffy snowflakes. Can you see the flakes falling in the photo? If you click the photo you can see the "snowflakes".

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Skywatch ~ November 18, 2011

What can be better than a glorious red Maple tree against a beautiful sky on a sunny day? 




Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Fall Series 3

First, a note about my blog. I've had a continuous stream of changes as I've tried to upload a new look and a new banner. I apologize if things didn't always 'gel'. I was having photo storage issues. I think those are temporarily resolved once again.

I'm continuing with my Fall theme. Soon Fall will be over in this part of the world and I want to capture the beauty of the season while it's here!
These photos were taken on different days in different neighbourhoods. 

I was trying to capture the falling leaves as the wind blew them off the trees. Can you see the falling leaves, like snow? So pretty too when they blanket the ground.

Fallen leaves on the ground always made me a joyful child and young adult, kicking my way through leaves with a song on my lips. I especially remember this during my university years. I loved the invigorating air as I'd make my way from class to class from one end of the campus to the other.  This day I felt like kicking through the leaves but that wouldn't have been good for my sore leg.

This intense colour of the maple tree was so pretty against the robin egg blue sky that I just had to use it for my new header.

I love this clump of leaves at the base of the tree. They look so artfully arranged.

 My photo storage issues were caused by blogger saying I've reached my photo limit so I've deleted numerous blog posts from blogger and photos from the web album. I have to make time to resize all my photos in the photo storage before uploading them to the posts.

I've just been busy juggling a number of things and not doing any of them properly.
Hopefully things will ease up in the New Year.
Thank you for your patience with me.

  Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Kipngeno Goes to School

A long while ago I wrote about Kipngeno, a bright young man who graduated from high school and wanted to be a nurse. Several times we thought we had a donor for him to go to university and several times our hopes were dashed.

Jonah, of  Missions of Hope has now enrolled Kipngeno in university in Kisii Town, Kenya where he is majoring in pharmaceutical studies instead of nursing.  Kipngeno is now living out his dream because he started university studies in September.  But he faces great financial challenges ahead.

Kipngeno kept busy on the farm while he waited for his time to start university studies.

If you can help this young man reach his dreams through sponsoring his education at university, please contact me.  You would be changing a life for the greater good.  We need to know soon whether someone can help this student continue with his education in January.

Jonah pays a visit to Kipngeno. Jonah is on far left, Kipngeno on the far right with his lab coat and stethoscope, a friend of his in the middle. Can you imagine how excited Kipngeno must be?

 You can help publicize this need  by using the share buttons below.
You will never know how one simple act can change someone's life. Just think, you might
be responsible for getting this story into the hands of someone who can actually help Kipngeno.

That would be awesome!

Kipngeno will get a valuable education and a chance to be lifted out of poverty.  But he will also be added to the ranks of the medical profession. Kenya is greatly in need of medical personnel. According to Oxfam, in 2006,  there were only 14 doctors for every 100,000 people.  Compare this to Canada which has about 32,000 doctors (and almost the same number of specialists).  This is about 1 doctor for every 850 people (if you don't count the specialists).  In Canada we are experiencing a shortage of doctors for our needs.
Food for thought.


Fall Series 2

We've had some beautiful sunny weather since yesterday. It made me linger along the streets as I made my way to the latest acupuncture session.  My regular readers who have been commenting and cheering me on, please know that my leg is getting better. It is just a very slow process.

Now here are the Fall photos.

I love the dappled sunlight on the multicoloured leaves of the trees.

At the top of the photo you can see one of the ski "hills" in the local area. I don't live right in this neighbourhood but I can see the lights of the city and on this mountain at night.

There is a very busy city corridor at the end of this street. That is why there are so many cards parked here on the side of the street. In addition, many businesses and residents only have street parking.
When the winds whips up as it has been doing, the trees quickly give up their dried leaves and you get a carpet of leaves on the ground.  They give a nice crunching sound under the feet :-)

I liked this house. As I was walking by I saw the shadows of the bushes against the brick red house. After getting home and looking at the photo on line, I saw a dream catcher in the window. Dream catchers are said to catch your bad dreams in the webs. They are an Aboriginal (First Nations) item but have become very popular amongst the general population. Something like the South American 'worry dolls'.
 
It doesn't matter what the weather is. There is always someone who is so "tough" they don't need a jacket when mere mortals like me would be shivering without one.



The colours of Fall always make me happy.
What makes you happy dear readers?

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Week Begins

It is a beautiful sunny day here. It's very windy though and wind isn't great for my knee pain. I don't ever recall a year when we've had so much wind before but lately it seems to be windy a lot.

It's been raining and cold since Friday so I wanted to capture today in it's bright glory. It is actually sunnier than it looks in the photo.  There is some fresh snow on the mountain. I think it fell on Saturday but wasn't watching carefully.


I'm on my way to yet another appointment with the acupuncture doctor and to just enjoy the day.

Have a wonderful day!

Re-post: Change of Address for Missions of Hope

Hello friends,

The blog for the Missions of Hope has a new domain name www.kenyamissionsofhope.org.  Please be sure to change your bookmarks and visit often. Jonah would love to hear from you.

Once the blog was available at the new domain, I posted about the change of address and was promptly informed that the comment feature was not working. It appears to have been a blogger problem and I apologize if you were trying to leave a comment and couldn't.  I think it is working now.

The last post was about little Linet and her family. Linet is the little girl who needs reconstructive surgery.  MOH was not able to help her with surgery because we are still recovering from the months of expenses for little Kigen's medical needs, however Jonah did help Linet to get medical attention for a month as she was losing weight and unable to eat. She is stable at the moment but we want to keep her that way.

One of the things we would like to do to help little Linet and her family is to help her mother with a micro-enterprise initiative.  The mother wants to start a beauty salon business near where she lives. If she is successful in this venture, she may be able to take care of Linet's surgical needs herself.  We just don't know for certain if she will be able to cover the cost of surgery for her little girl but at least she would be able to try and make some money of her own.  I have received one contribution toward this project and have contributed funds of my own but we need another $100 to $150 to fully fund this enterprise and get Linet's mother on her way.  If you can help at all, please donate here.

Linet and her mother.
Know that Jonah reads and treasures all of your comments and they encourage him in his work under difficult circumstances to bring help and hope to the people.  There have been some problems with the comments feature at his site but it seems to be working now.  Please pray for him as he is currently on the road undertaking some work. Pray that all goes smoothly and that all needs will be met. May God bless you!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Fall Series

We had a seasonal storm blowing off the west coast yesterday. It was very blustery. I was dressed warmly enough. Even so, I felt the chill of the air. My friend who was inexplicably dressed in linen and who only wore a light woolen shawl was understandably colder than I.

We met for lunch, coffee afterward and an early movie. I had a nice visit as I seldom indulge for so long with a friend over a nice visit. The movie we went to see was J. Edgar about J. Edgar Hoover, the long time head of the Federal Investigative Bureau (FBI).

I knew little about this man save for he seems to be responsible for spying on American citizens and usurping the rights of citizens on the basis of the need to protect the state. The movie was directed by Clint Eastwood and I enjoyed it though I think it tried to cover too much ground in the space of a few hours. The title role was exceedingly well played by Leonardo Di Caprio.

Besides the great visit and the enjoyable movie, I managed to capture some beautiful Fall scenery.



I decided to try some special effects.
And more special effects. I like it!
Although we had a major storm here with trees being uprooted, power outages in thousands of homes and snow on the high mountain passes, I was fortunate that I had no major problems. I also felt blessed to see the wonderful scenery and like to see the roads blanketed in colourful leaves.

I hope you are having a wonderful weekend.

African Music & Happenings