2015 Canadian Thanksgiving · 2015 Thanksgiving · Andshelaughs · Canadian Thanksgiving · dating · Dining · Entertaining · Family · Food · Girl Stuff · Guy Stuff · Holidays · insight · Life · Living · Meaning of Life · Psychology · Recipes · Thanksgiving

Misfit Thanksgiving – Getting to Know You

give thanksI had the pleasure of getting to know an acquaintance much better last night as our Thanksgiving celebration wound down into the quiet evening hours.

I had known this gentleman and his wife for years, but never really had an opportunity to speak to him. He discussed community, politics, religion and generally, the stuff that makes the world go ’round.

This is the beauty of what I have come to call our, “Misfit” get-togethers; gathering people together who are kind and intelligent to share an evening of, well, true sharing.

The definition of Misfit is; One who is unable to adjust to one’s environment or circumstances or is considered to be awkwardly different from others.

As we age, being around people we actually like is a big deal. It’s rejuvenating, fun, and renews our belief that good triumphs over evil. Being surrounded by thoughtful (as in they think independently, and care about how they impact others), intelligent people with a true sense of who they are and how they show up in the world every day is something that I am thankful for.

Most people define themselves against their first experience of ‘them’ and ‘us’, basically, how and where they fit into the family unit.

For some, family gatherings are just another uncomfortable event they feel they have no choice but to attend. Others have tossed decorum and bunk to the side, and have decided to live a life less complicated and simply spend time with people they actually like.

As we charge full-steam ahead into the season of holidays that seem to be tied to family tradition and sanguineous relationships, don’t forget that it’s all a load of crappola.

These traditions of gathering are an opportunity to spend time with the like-minded, differently-minded or whatever-mined, kind, loving, wonderfully diverse people whom you call friends. If you have been invited to our home to share a ‘misfit’ holiday with us, know that you have my respect, and that I like you.

The good people whom I like; they are my family of friends, and for them, I am truly thankful.

Advertisements
Autumn · Canadian Thanksgiving · Dining · Entertaining · Fall · Fall Things to Do · Friendship · FUn · Girls Stuff · Halloween · Having Fun · Life · Lists · Living · Meaning of Life · Niagara Wineries · Roadtrips · Smores · Things to Do Fall · Wine · Wine Tasting · Wine Tours · Wineries

How to Get Up & Get Going For Fall

The older I get, the easier it is to make up excuses not to do stuff.

It’s easy to come home, go through the motions and then fake like a boob and get stuck on the chesterfield all night.

It was thanks only to my genius Summer-To-Do list that I accomplished anything fun this summer. You see, my summer turned into a bit of a gong-show, thanks to my self-indulgent je-ne-care-pas, and a schedule only five-star anal-retentive could memorize.

I managed to accomplish all but one of the fun-things on my list. I’m ok with that though. It’ll give me a starting point for my 2016-Summer-To-Do-List.

So, with the proven success of making a list of fun stuff to do,(spontaneity is best, but what the hell, I’m Type A) I am going to formulate an Autumn To-Do List. This will not include anything that I don’t want to do, like finish most of my Christmas shopping, grout cleaning or dragging out our winter clothing.

1) Host our annual Friends’ Thanksgiving Dinner

andrewnamecard

2) Spending a day at one, or a number of, our local Niagara Winerieswinetour

3) Purchasing 12 bottles of wine directly from said wineries

bottlesofwine

4) Hallowe’en Hay Ride, corn maze, or some such shenanigan…

corn maze

5) Road trip with someone who makes me laugh

roadtriplaughing

6) Smores in the fireplace

fireplacesmores

Andshelaughs · Christmas · Comedy · Cooking · Creative Writing · Creativity · Entertaining · Food · Girl Stuff · Health · Humor · Humour · Inspiration · Life · Living · Men's Issues · Perspective · Recipes · Spirituality · Uncategorized · Women's Issues · Working Women · Writing

The Elusive Christmas Rutabaga

rutabaga
“No Christmas dinner is complete without rutabaga.” ~Andshelaughs~

At 11:30 p.m. one Christmas eve, long, long ago, and about ten kilometers away, I almost tossed away one of the most cherished traditional foods to grace our Christmas table; the elusive Southwestern Ontario Rutabaga.

Had it not been for a squash turned bitter-el-yucko from being grown too close to the gourd patch, I may not be telling you this story.

That evening I had given in to my lovely British boyfriend’s aversion to turnip in favour of squash. I had also ensured that we had his cherished brussel sprouts and enough potatoes to make our mashed and his roasted, along with a sure-thing bread sauce mix for the turkey. Anyway, the squash tasted like bitter-el-yucko (that’s Spanish slang for; it-tasted-like-shit).

So, literally at the eleventh hour, I hustled my chubby bustle to the twenty-four-hour grocer across the street, who would be closing at midnight for Christmas. What was I hoping to find? Not a squash which may have also been contaminated, but  the elusive Christmas Rutabaga. I learned my lesson that year; stick with rutabaga, because it never let’s you down.

You may have read my last post, Caring Less That It’s Christmas. To say I’m not in the Christmas spirit is putting things mildly. So, tonight, unlike most years, I ran out to get the Christmas groceries before the parking-lots become a UFC event tomorrow.

This is not like me. I’m usually el-finito with the Christmas groceries at least two weeks in advance, except for staples like milk and red wine, our pantry is decked out like we’re ready for nuclear holocaust by November 30th.

This year the only items I had stocked up on were sour cream and coloured mini-marshmallows (for my retro 70’s squares). Those darn marshmallows sit on the shelf all year, and then go MIA every year right after Thanksgiving.

I had everything I needed paid for and packed carefully in shopping bags; the orange jello for our tacky jello dish, the pineapple and mandarin oranges for the traditional ambrosia, a thousand pounds of butter for our thousand pounds of sweet treats, five cases of soda, bags of chips, frozen pizza for the teenagers to eat during their lazy days at home, cat food so little Willie Nelson doesn’t starve, tangerines, brown sugar, icing sugar, white sugar, flour, not to mention our every-day groceries that have nutritional value.  But I did not have the rutabaga.

So I stopped at the next store over. No rutabaga.

It took me three stops before I finally got my gnarled up little paws on a rutabaga. Three stores!!!

I like to think that it’s worth the effort. That my son will remember our traditional Canadian food, and that our guests feel like it’s Christmas when they join us on Christmas day. So tonight, I can put my feed up safe in the knowledge that everything I need for our Christmas dinner, and my Christmas baking trays is ready to go.

Once I had successfully captured the elusive Christmas rutabaga, I could cross the last thing off my Christmas shopping list, and there’s no greater feeling. Well, maybe a pedicure and the undivided thorough and proper attention of a good man, but I digress.

Tomorrow is baking day; snickerdoodles, gingersnaps, shortbread, whipped shortbread with chocolate nougat, my 70’s retro squares, a batch of fudge, pineapple squares, biscotti, maybe some caramel corn, and the last drenching of the fruitcake with rum.

Now I bet you’re wishing that bitter-el-yucko squash hadn’t been grown so close to the gourd patch aren’t you? You’re kinda wishing I kept my trap shut and switched to common squash. But I’m not common my darlings. I’m a country girl at heart who loves tradition even more than she actually enjoys the rutabaga.  Go figure.

Wishing you a peaceful and relaxing weekend before the fat-man in the red-suit shimmies down your chimney next week.

 

Entertainment · Girl Stuff · Health · Humor · Humour · Life · Men's Issues · Relationships · Sexuality · Singles · Spirituality · Uncategorized · Women's Issues · Writing

When Cliches Come Home to Roost

 

"Damaged people are dangerous because they know they can survive."
“Damaged people are dangerous because they know they can survive.”

After a bottle and a half of wine, and various and sundry acts of debauchery, a kazillion clichés came home to roost tonight;

Sex is a powerful drug. Be careful what you wish for. Thank ‘god’ for unanswered prayers. Only the good die young. Never mix business with pleasure. A young stud is better than an old cow. Ok, that might not be a cliché. I just made it up, but I think it has a ring to it.

Like the finest of wine, I have mellowed with age. Don’t get me wrong darlings, I still like my men young, virile, with a twist of kink and bad-assery. I still enjoy sensual pleasures that don’t involve linen table service or early-bird rates, if you know what I mean.

But I have, indeed mellowed.

Having had a terrible relationship experience a few years back with a man who makes women dry-heave at the thought of being near a man, I left it well jaded, and feeling rather depleted. Depleted as in; I could care less if another man ever touched me again.

Much to my delight and yours, I’m sure, I have made a hearty recovery and am back in the saddle of all things delightfully-of-the-man-flesh. Miracles do happen darlings. Do not despair. To despair is to turn your back on the goddess who slumbers deep inside your warm, wiggly bits.

But I digress. Back to the clichés. Back to tonight. Back to what I started to tell you in the first place.

Even though I’ve got Ms. Mojo back, it is with a much more mellow demeanor. Instead of being reactive, I’m able to observe my thoughts, and well, what goes on in my head is entertaining as hell.

All of the things that I wanted in the past have flown out the window. What I thought I knew for sure about myself and relationships has died a rather unremarkable death.

Most of us, including my wonderful self, love to live in a black and white world. It’s easy; Right and wrong. Bad and good. Should and shouldn’t.

But it’s never really that easy is it? Life is lived most fully in the grey areas that we struggle so hard to escape.

Tonight, as the candles flickered their last pale light, and the wine glasses stood empty and at attention, I lolled in the soft sheets listening to my favourite songs, much to the chagrin of my lover.

Him: “Aren’t you going to get up and lock the door?”

Moi: “No.”

Him: “I’m not comfortable with that. What if there’s some weirdo out there?”

Moi: “If he looks interesting, send him in.”….and that was the end of the evening’s adult events.

Nothing is for certain.  All of the clichés anyone has ever told me about life and relationships flitted through my head, one contradicting the next. I observed them rise and sputter like falling stars.

Tonight I was just thankful to enjoy the moments of delight that came my way; a good meal, a thorough and proper lover, one of my favourite bottles of wine and a deep feeling of being completely sated.

When that feeling fades darlings, as I know it will, there’s always a bourbon night with Mr. C. Rush to make it all better.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Entertaining · Girl Stuff · Health · Humor · Humour · Life · Men's Issues · Recipes · Relationships · Travel · Uncategorized · Women's Issues · Writing

Savoury Sunday: Crevettes a la Grecque

Glasses
Glasses (Photo credit: Simon_sees)

It’s been a while darlings. It’s not that I’ve forgotten about you, I’ve just been terribly busy, pre-occupied, and frankly, enjoying the simple pleasures of the barbecue.

Alas, I am back with a delicious recipe for you to enjoy while dining al fresco under the stars after the sun has set and the humidity is blown away by  the cool evening breeze.

Shrimp in Mediterranean sauce is simple, easy and delicious; the way that food should be prepared and served. With a few fine quality ingredients and lots of love, you can enjoy this simple dish with your true-love without having to spend hours slaving over the stove.

Add a glass or five of Joseph Cattin Pinot Gris spritzed half and half with ice-cold club soda and a wedge of juicy lime. Be sure to have a baguette and fresh salad of baby greens with a simple vinegraitte, and you’re all set.

Don’t worry darlings, I haven’t forgotten the  ambiance. Please see my preferred selection below the recipe.

Enjoy!

Ingredients

1/2 cup dry white wine

1/2 cup water

1/3 cup olive oil

2 large garlic cloves (thinly sliced NOT crushed)

1 small red onion (finely chopped)

1 large lemon with finely pared zest

2 tbsp. lemon juice

1 tbsp. coriander seeds (lightly toasted)

1/2 tbsp. ground pepper

20 large shrimp or equivalent smaller shrimp

Fresh flat-leaf parsley (chopped for garnish)

Method

1) Combine wine, water, oil, garlic, onion, lemon zest, lemon juice, coriander seeds, pepper into a pan and bring to a boil.

2)Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

3) Add the shrimp and simmer for approximately 3 minutes or until the shrimp (depending on size) turn pink. Remove from pan and place in serving bowl.

4) Bring the liquid back to a boil and reduce it by half (approx. 5 minutes)

5) Pour over shrimp and serve warm, garnished with parsley.

***

What would a romantic dinner be without a little music?

I’m going to suggest a summery-remix of one of my favourites;

Economics · Entertaining · Girl Stuff · Health · Life · Men's Issues · Recipes · Relationships · Travel · Uncategorized · Women's Issues

Savoury Sunday: The Best Burgers In the World

There’s nothing like a leisurely BBQ during a long weekend. At our house, we have one every day of the long weekend.barbeque

I prepare a nice bowl of couscous salad, a pasta salad with sun-dried tomatoes and black olives, and uncork a lovely bottle of wine.

I suggest Strut Cab Couture – a delicious, chewy wine that makes you smile, ease into your  muskoka chair and offer up a prayer of gratitude to the universe. Thanks to my friend Darlene for introducing us!

This combination is a  simple, easy, way to relax with delicious food and wonderful company.

Trishy McDishy’s Best Burgers In the World

Ingredients

1) 1lb ground beef (extra lean)

2) 1 clove garlic – crushed

3) 1 egg

4) 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs

5) 1 tbsp. BBQ sauce

6) Hamburger buns ( I prefer fresh-baked bakery buns)

7) Condiments; ketchup, mayo, thinly sliced dill pickles, hot peppers, tomatoes, lettuce, Dijon mustard, cheese

Method

1) Thoroughly ix all ingredients together using  your hands.

2) Shape into desired size patties. ( I prefer smaller patties, and this makes about 8)

3) Place directly on pre-heated BBQ grill, and cook as desired.

***Don’t worry darlings, I didn’t forget the music. Crank this and enjoy your dinner. I hope you bought two bottles of vino!***

Creative Writing · Entertaining · Entertainment · Health · Life · Recipes · Relationships · Singles · Uncategorized

Savoury Sunday: Pasta Carbonara

Vineyards in the Italian wine region of Tuscan...
Vineyards in the Italian wine region of Tuscany in mid November. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I really had fun putting this post together for you. Be sure to scroll down and play the Louis Prima/Keely Smith tune to get you in the mood.

Pasta Carbonara is one of my favourite Italian dishes. It’s easy to make, delicious and satisfying. There’s nothing like this simple, comfort food to accompany a shared meal with great friends or a cozy lover.

Finish up this rich dish with a nice light lemon gelato.

You can’t possibly  have a civilized meal without including some wine and music.

Experts have suggested everything from sweet Riesling to dry Syrah. Is that possible?!  Personally, I abide Billy Munnelly’s philosophy about wine; drink what you enjoy within your budget.

I tried Porcupine Ridge Syrah from South Africa (because that’s what I had in the house). You may also try a classic Italian wine to go with your rustic Italian Carbonara; Citra Montepulciano D’Abruzzo.

For music, it has to be Louis Prima and Keely Smith. I’m Queen of nothing if I’m not Queen-of-Over-The-Top. ( I’ve included a link for your listening pleasure just below the recipe.)

I hope you enjoy this week’s Savoury Sunday.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound pasta, such as spaghetti or rigatoni
  • 3-4 tbsp. olive oil (enough to coat bottom of pan)
  • 1/4 pound chopped pancetta, or traditional bacon if you don’t have pancetta
  • 1/4-1/2 cup frozen or fresh peas
  • Red pepper flakes to taste ( I use 1/2 tsp – 1 tsp)
  • 4 pressed cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 cup freshly grated Romano cheese

Method

1) Put a large  of water on to boil. Add a liberal  amount of salt and the pasta. Cook to al dente (8-10 mins)

 2) Heat  a large pan over medium heat. Add the  olive oil and pancetta/bacon

3)  Brown pancetta 2 minutes. Add red pepper flakes,  garlic, peas  and cook a few minutes more

4) Add wine and stir up all the pan  drippings.

3)In a separate bowl, beat yolks, then add about 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water.

(This tempers the eggs and keeps them  from scrambling.)

4)  Drain pasta well and add it directly to the other ingredients in the pan

5) Pour the egg mixture over the pasta. Toss rapidly to coat the  pasta without cooking the egg.

6) Remove pan from heat and add 3/4 cups of  cheese.

7) Season with  lots of pepper, and salt to taste.

8) Continue to toss and turn the pasta for a few more minutes  until it soaks up egg mixture and it thickens.

9) Add extra cheese for garnish.