Sometimes on the way to your dream,

you get lost and find a better one.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

aaarrgh!

I heard a scritchy scratchy sound coming from the bathroom and assumed it was Angel in his litter tray.

It was Angel, but not in the tray.

He'd pulled down an entire roll of toilet paper......

Whimsical Wednesday # 119

Welcome back to Whimsical Wednesday!

The day for your googled giggle that gets you over the hump that is Wednesday and sliding down into the weekend.

Chocolate Eggs!

Because it's almost Easter...

Monday, April 14, 2014

Musical Monday

I was introduced to Musical Monday via Delores, who also brings us the Words for Wednesday challenge.
Musical Monday was thought of by Mildred Ratched, over at Handprints in the Attic.

I've selected this song by Clay Walker simply because it makes me happy.
I hope you all enjoy it too.

Live, Laugh, Love.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Sunday Selections # 167



Welcome back to Sunday Selections!

This once-a-week-meme was originally begun by Kim of Frog Ponds Rock, as a way to showcase some of the many photos we all take, but don't get around to showing on our blogs.

The rules are very simple:-
1. post photos of your choice, old or new, under the Sunday Selections title
2. link back to me, River, somewhere in your post
3. leave me a comment so that I know you've joined in and can come over and see what you've posted.
4. hop on over to The Elephant’s Child to see more of her wonderful photos.

Kath and Andrew often join in as well, although Kath :( has been quite busy lately and unable to join us.
There are several other participants now though:
Jackie K at WorkingThrough It

I usually go with a theme for my Sunday Selections and this week I'm continuing with some photos of my walk towards North Adelaide.

After crossing Albert Bridge I walked along War Memorial Drive and saw a back view of some of the Zoo buildings. I hope I haven't already showed you this, it's the prettiest, most of the others were just sheds and roofs.

Did I show you Albert Bridge? I really must organise this folder better....

this is Albert Bridge.....

and this is the side you see when crossing it.

Before I crossed, I walked past the new, modern zoo entrance and found the old entrance.

which is much prettier in my opinion.

just look at that amazing brickwork!

even around the curves in the fence.

I wish this entrance was still in use.
The new entrance is all glass and steel and shine...

so I've crossed the bridge and walked along behind the zoo for a bit and saw this....

a very nicely decorated Campervan.

and this wonderfully shaped dead tree overhanging the water of the Torrens.


A few joggers huffed and puffed past me..... and just when I thought I'd turn back and head for North Adelaide, I saw loaves of uncut bread tossed on the side of the road.....

and spotted this magpie having lunch. He was so busy tearing into the bread he barely noticed me.

More next week...

















Saturday, April 12, 2014

Angel


I won't bore you with words....here is Angel playing with his favourite toy.
I call it mousie, but it looks more like a guinea pig.

I certainly hope this works after telling various people it would be here.....

video

Friday, April 11, 2014

Wednesday's Words on a Friday



On Wednesdays, Delores, from Under The Porch Light, has a meme which she calls

“Words for Wednesday”.

She puts up a selection of six words which we then use in a short story, or a poem.

I’m hopeless at poetry so I always do a story.

It’s a fun challenge…why not join in?

This week's words are:

1. piercing
2. persistent
3. municipal
4. sewers
5. glancing
6. bloodshot

Here is my story:

A nurse came in to check Angelo's temperature and pulse just as he was beginning to open his eyes. She and Cordelia both smiled at him, with Nurse Carol saying, "there you are, we've been waiting for you to wake up." 

Cordelia leaned in and kissed the cheek nearest her and murmured into his ear, "welcome back, I've missed you, I love you."

Angelo tried to say something, but his mouth was too dry after the anaesthetic, so Nurse Carol helped him drink some water, then Angelo asked Cordelia "have you been sitting there all the time? I dreamed you were there..."

Cordelia replied she had been there almost every minute, leaving only to use the bathroom. 
Angela and Georgina had been in too, Nicky had phoned a few minutes ago. Joe and Tom were at the store.
Nurse Carol said; you're a popular man Angelo, everyone wants to know how you are."

Angelo smiled at that and thanked her for her care. He looked over at Cordelia again and they nodded at each other. Words were unnecessary, each knew the relief the other was feeling.

For the next two days, Angelo learned to balance while walking without his toes; at first putting his foot to the floor was very uncomfortable, the bandage was thick, well padded, but he put most of his weight on his heel as he hobbled around the room supported by Dr. Johns. 
Cordelia went home to sleep and prepare the house for Angelo's homecoming, now that he was declared well on the way to mending. All their things were brought downstairs into the large guest suite, since walking up and down stairs would be difficult for Angelo. Cordelia had been wanting to move into the guest suite for some time, now seemed like the perfect opportunity; their upstairs bedroom could be redecorated as a guest room for when the grandchildren visited. She thought suddenly of the gates that used to be at the top and bottom of those stairs when their children were toddlers. Where were they? They'd have to be cleaned and reinstalled when the newest one, Daniel started crawling. Plenty of time for that though, Daniel wasn't even two weeks old yet...

A walking stick had been provided for Angelo to help him balance and a wheelchair took him from the ward to the hospital front door where Cordelia had a taxi waiting. Angelo protested a little at the expense, but Cordelia hushed him, saying all the kids were busy and couldn't be there to bring him home. As soon as they arrived however, the real reason was revealed. 
A welcome home party with balloons and streamers, lemonade and cake and grandchildren everywhere!  Angela's girls, Cathy and Theresa helped Angelo to the Chair of Honour, surrounded by purple balloons, while Georgina's son Mark brought him a small side table and her daughter Jenny brought over a plate of sandwiches. 

Soon the room was noisy with several conversations going at once, the main topic being Angelo's foot, with new baby Daniel a close second. By dinnertime a few hours later, Angelo was feeling very tired and relieved that most of the noise had gone home, only Thomas, the youngest son,  remaining to help Cordelia in the kitchen. Thomas and Joseph, the eldest, had been working the veggie patches alone while Angelo was unable to do his share. They knew the gardens and business inside out by now, having been helpers since their childhoods. Discussions had been underway for the boys to take over, with Angelo taking a step back towards retirement. "But who really retires?" he thought, "even if I don't manage the shop or deliveries, there is still the house garden to be worked, Cordy will need help there..." 

Later the next afternoon, Cordelia brought up the subject of the stair gates and they began reminiscing about the time when their children were tiny. In time, Cordelia left Angelo under the shade of the apple tree and went inside to prepare dinner.

Angelo's thoughts went back, back, more than fifty years.....

...the piercing, persistent shrill of the alarm clock woke Angelo too early. He wasn't ready to wake up, but wake up he would...glancing at the clock, he rubbed his bloodshot eyes and made his way to the bathroom. 
He stood under the hot water for a few minutes, before soaping, rinsing and drying off. He wasn't looking forward to going to work, but until the fruit &vegetable shop was doing better business, he needed an outside income. 

Cordelia was pregnant with their first baby and things had been a little rough for her.  Doctor visits had been plentiful in the first months with a short stay in hospital when it seemed Cordelia might miscarry. But the baby stayed safe with Cordelia resting a lot and doing less in the veggie patch, and not climbing any ladders at all when the fruit was ripe for picking.

Angelo wanted nothing but the best for her and the baby, so he'd taken a job with the municipal county, but all they had to offer was clearing blockages in the sewers. The fumes had made Angelo's eyes sting and constant rubbing to relieve that had caused them to be bloodshot. The foreman had agreed to get Angelo a pair of safety glasses today. 

As he ate the breakfast Cordelia had cooked, Angelo thought about the nursery, nearing completion now, with the walls a soft blue chosen by Cordelia and the hand made, solid golden oak, antique crib and rocking chair gifted to them by Angelo's grandfather Joe. That crib and chair had been covered in many layers of old paint and Angelo had spent two full weekends sanding it back to the bare wood before finishing it with a light coat of clear varnish to show off the pretty grain. It looked lovely in the room where blue and yellow checked curtains blew in the breeze from the open window. They'd decided there and then to name the baby Joseph, after Angelo's grandfather. 

Angelo kissed Cordelia goodbye, asking for a promise that she wouldn't do too much today, with the baby due next week, she needed to be careful. Cordelia promised and said she would be spending the day finishing the quilt for the crib and anyway her mum was coming today to do the vacuuming, remember?

Thursday, April 10, 2014

I tried something new in the kitchen

Vegetarian lasagna.

It's been a long while since I've made lasagna and I always made the usual meat sauce type, but then I saw a vegetarian recipe in a magazine and thought I'd try it.

Pumpkin, spinach and ricotta lasagna.

it's in one of those free supermarket magazines that come out seasonally, so four times a year.
Looks nice doesn't it?

we start with chopping and cooking the pumpkin, then letting it cool. I left my chunks too big, the recipe says 3cm, but I somehow missed seeing that....doesn't really matter since it will be mashed later.

some of the other ingredients....

the rest of the ingredients.

I've never used fresh lasagna sheets before, always dried, so this was a learning curve for me.

washed baby spinach; the recipe asks for 120g...I had plenty left over so it's in the freezer ready for a quiche.
grated parmesan; 1/2 cup (I buy this in blocks and grate as needed)
finely chopped chives; 1 bunch

the flour, milk and butter were made into a sauce to which 1 cup of grated tasty cheese should be added. I forgot and added the whole 125g packet of grated tasty cheese....oops.

all of this would have had to be moved out of the way....

to gain access to this power point for the blender. I couldn't be bothered even climbing into the back of the cupboard to get the blender out...so

I used my trusty potato masher to blend the too-cold-by-now pumpkin and the ricotta cheese. It's supposed to be done in a food processor. I don't have one, relying on the blender instead. Today, the masher had its turn in the limelight. The mix is supposed to become a smooth sauce. Hmmm, didn't quite get there.

add the parmesan cheese, chives, milk and an egg. Mix well.
Don't worry, I'll print the full recipe at the bottom of the page.

this mix is then layered between pasta sheets with baby spinach leaves and the cheese sauce.
The recipe says to use an eight cup capacity dish; mine only holds six cups, so I had spinach leaves and pumpkin mix left over, but ran out of cheese sauce.
The recipe is going to need some tweaking.
The top layer is supposed to be cheese sauce which is then sprinkled with the remaining grated tasty cheese. Which I had already put into the sauce...so I improvised with grated mozzarella and parmesan

here it is in the oven, getting nice and browned. The book says to bake this at 200 degrees for half an hour or until golden. In my opinion, at 200 degrees, it would be golden long before it was thoroughly baked, so I lowered the temp to 160 when I put the dish in the oven and baked it for longer. I prefer my pasta soft, not crunchy.

how do you like my recipe holder?  I'm so clever....so resourceful.....

my tiny kitchen. I can stand in the middle and touch both sides at once. Easy-clean.

the lasagna was ready just in time for dinner, so I served a portion and sat down to eat.

you'll notice it didn't cut and serve in a nice tidy layered square like in the picture.
There's a reason for that, which I will now tell you.
I served it hot, so the sauce was still runny. (and my dish is too deep)
To get nice neat slices, a dish like this needs to be allowed to cool and set. Ideally, make it the day before you want it, refrigerate it then cut portions and zap in the microwave to heat through.
Even reheating in the pan without slicing, will result in neater slices as the sauce has had time to set. 

which is what I did with the leftovers. Refrigerate, not reheat. See how nice and neat it cuts?

packaged and frozen for future meals.

Taste?  A little too sweet for two reasons. I forgot the seasoning, it would have been much better with the pinch of salt and shake of pepper that was supposed to go into the pumpkin, ricotta, chives etc mix. Second reason? I chose butternut pumpkin (which USA readers will know as butternut squash) and it is sweeter than other varieties.
I also think the cheese sauce was a bit too much. Okay in a meat lasagna, but for this I think I would just sprinkle grated cheese in place of cheese sauce next time.

Here's the recipe and I'll leave it up to you to decide:

1.2kg pumpkin cut into 3cm pieces
60g butter
1/4 cup plain (all purpose) flour
2 1/2 cups reduced fat milk (I just used what I had in the fridge)
125g grated tasty cheese
300g fresh ricotta
1/2 cup grated parmesan
1 bunch chives finely chopped
2tbs milk, extra
1 egg, whisked (I didn't whisk)
375g fresh lasagna sheets
120g baby spinach leaves

1. preheat oven to 200 degrees C. Grease (whoops, forgot that bit too) an 8 cup capacity ovenproof dish. Cook pumpkin until tender, drain and cool.

2. Melt butter over medium heat. Add flour and whisk to combine, cook for two minutes. Slowly add milk while still whisking, bring to boil, simmer two minutes**. Remove from heat, stir in 1 cup tasty cheese.

3. Place pumpkin and ricotta in food processor, process until smooth. Transfer to bowl, stir in parmesan, chives, extra milk and egg. Season.
Spread 1/2 cup of pumpkin mixture over base of dish. Top with pasta sheets, spoon over 1 cup of pumpkin mix. top with 1/3 of the spinach, (I just added one layer of leaves) then 1/3 cup cheese sauce. (I didn't measure, just spread sauce..which was a bit too thick after cooling, probably why I ran out)

4. Repeat layers ending with sauce. Sprinkle over remaining tasty cheese. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden. Serve.

I would recommend a wider, flatter dish than the one I used which really is too deep for this. My original lasagna dish broke in the move and I haven't replaced it.

**this is difficult on an electric hotplate, it takes much longer than two minutes for it to cool from boiling to simmer temperature.