Wednesday, August 31, 2011

One week in


Gary has now been with us for just over a week.  He's finally seeming to settle in, letting Liam pick him up with much less fuss an hanging out on his piece of drift wood when he digests his crickets!



And up until tonight, the cats had really paid him no mind.  But now that he's out and about more, he has caught Buster's interest!  Luckily the lid is very heavy and very solid and Buster was easily distracted by treats in another room.




The one thing I hadn't counted on is that the crickets actually take more work then the Gecko!  Feed them, get them water, but not actual water since they'll drown, so I have to give them cut open grapes.  But that attracts fruit flies so I have to change it often.  They need their cage cleaned out and it took a lot of trial and error over the first few days to get them set up in such a way that they don't smell.  So far (finger AND toes crossed!) we have not had an escapee.  We do however have a very loud "wild" cricket singing his courting song outside the window of the room they live in.  I'm hoping it's only coincidence and that they haven't started to attract all the neighbourhood crickets.  At least "our" crickets are too young to chirp!  And I plan to feed them all to Gary before they get big enough!

We're starting to see a few changes in Gary's spots, and can't wait every morning to greet him.  I never thought in a million years that I would say YES to a reptile as a pet, but he's a pretty cool guy to have around.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Introducing....


This is Liam's new baby Leopard Gecko!  Liam has yet to settle on a name, but Gary the Gecko seems to be one of the fore-runners!



Lunch!

This is a teaser post.... look what we had to buy for our new pet to eat.  



Can you guess what we got?

Friday, August 19, 2011

Celebrating in style!

I’m Aging like Fine Wine … I’m getting Complex and Fruity!”


41 isn't looking too bad so far thanks to my gift of fine wines from my MIL!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Enjoy your life and forget me

What wonderful words to have written in a letter enclosed in my birthday card; and in only the second birthday card I have received from the woman who made my birthday possible - my mother Iris.

I had done a really good job at moving on, facing the end. I cannot fathom what Iris's life must be like for her. I had come to terms with no longer having a relationship with her (if it could have ever really been called that to start with) and then out of the blue, this.

We had just gotten home from vacation and I was going through the mail.  There was one piece that was obviously a birthday card ('tis that time of year after all).  A quick glance at the handwriting and the postal code it was sent from and I assumed it was from my Grandmother. So while preoccupied with 5 other things, I opened it.  It wasn't from Grandma, but from Iris.  She had enclosed a short letter, explaining that she had been able to go out for the day without Madelaine and so was writing to me in the car and mailing the card from a nearby city. (she was visiting her sister there, she didn't drive there just to mail the letter).

Again she reiterates how difficult things are with Madelaine and how she can never tell her about me.  She also reminds me that I was never supposed to be able to find her in the first place (guilt anyone?) but then asks about Liam and tells me that she thinks of us often.  I can only imagine that she is on her own adoption roller-coaster from hell.

She does say that she will try to write when she can, but PLEASE do not reply back.  Ever.

And then she closes with "Sorry for everything.  Enjoy your life and forget me.  Thank you can Good Bye."

Maybe this isn't the end..... at least not yet.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Daring Kitchen - Appams

Blog-checking lines: Mary, who writes the delicious blog, Mary Mary Culinary was our August Daring Cooks’ host. Mary chose to show us how delicious South Indian cuisine is! She challenged us to make Appam and another South Indian/Sri Lankan dish to go with the warm flat bread.

What a fun and tasty challenge this was!  The appams need to ferment for 8-12 hours, so I made the batter on Saturday and cooked/served them for Sunday dinner.  Hilary and I were a bit concerned when I started to cook them because they smelled so sour and yeasty!  I forged ahead and cooked the first one.  It bubbled up like all the pictures I had seen, got lacy around the edges and generally looked great.  So we tasted it.  Hmmmm..... not bad, but it had a slightly sour taste to it.  Hilary then dipped her piece into one of the curries that I had made to go with them.  Her eyes lit up!  The sour/yeasty taste combined with the spicy curry taste is  phenomenal!

This is definitely a dish that is worth the time and one that we will be sure to make again.



Appam
Servings: Makes about 15. I find 3-4 are enough for a serving

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups (360 ml/300 gm/10½ oz) raw rice
  • 1 ½ teaspoons (7½ ml/5 gm) active dry yeast
  • 2 teaspoons (10 ml/9 gm) sugar
  • ½ cup (120 ml) of coconut water or water, room temperature
  • 1 ½ tablespoons (22½ ml/18 gm) cooked rice
  • ½ teaspoon (2½ ml/3 gm) salt
  • About ½ cup (120 ml) thick coconut milk (from the top of an unshaken can)

Directions:

  • Soak the raw rice in 4 to 5 cups of water for 3 hours. You can soak it overnight, although I did not try that.
  • Dissolve the sugar in the coconut water or plain water and add the yeast. Set aside in a warm area for 10-15 minutes, until very frothy.
  • Drain the rice and grind it in a blender with the yeast mixture to make a smooth batter. You can add a bit of extra water if needed, but I did not. Add the cooked rice, and grind/blend to combine well. You can see that it is not completely smooth, but very thick—that’s about right.
  • Pour into a large bowl, cover and leave in a warm place for 8-12 hours. You not only want the mixture to rise and collapse, but to ferment. When it is ready, it will have a slightly sour and distinctly yeasty smell. Don’t worry--they are mild tasting when cooked!
  • Add the coconut milk and salt, and a bit of water if necessary, so that you have a batter that is just a bit thicker than milk. Notice how it bubbles after you add the coconut milk. I recommend test-cooking one before thinning the batter.
  • Heat your pan over medium heat. Wipe a few drops of oil over it using a paper towel. Stir the batter and pour in 3-4 tablespoons, depending on the size of the pan. Working quickly, hold the handle(s) and give the pan a quick swirl so that the batter comes to the top edge. Swirl once only, as you want the edges to be thin and lacy.
  • Cover the pan and cook for about 2 minutes. Uncover and check. The center should have puffed up a bit, and will be shiny, but dry to the touch. When ready, loosen the edges with a small spatula and serve immediately. These need to be served hot out of the pan.
  • Make another, and another.  

  • Serve with curries of your choice - I served mine with a lamb ishtew and a sambar vegetable curry



Thursday, August 11, 2011

It's not ALL craptastic

While my last post listed the doom and gloom that we have had on our vacation, it has had pockets of fun.  The sun came out enough yesterday that we put on swim suits and spent time in the ocean.  We've visited 2 lighthouses so far and have seen lots of interesting  ocean creatures.



All is not lost!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

10 ways to have a CRAPTASTIC vacation

  1. Have 2 teeth pulled 5 days before you leave.  Make sure one ends up being a "complicated surgical extraction".
  2. Go to a location that is planning rain for the entire time of your visit.
  3. Forget to pack long pants, a jacket and socks.
  4. Have so much pain from the 2 pulled teeth that no amount of OTC pain killers will help.
  5. Find a walk in clinic.  Ensure that it's a clinic that requires you to register in person 3-4 hours before your appointment time.
  6. M.O.S.Q.U.I.T.O.E.S.
  7. Rent a cabin close to the beach.  Ensure that it's a beach that has a strong sulfur smell of rotting seaweed at low tide.  Coincide your week with low tide being in the middle of the day.
  8. Get a prescription for Tylenol 3 with Codeine.  Take 2.  When they don't seem to be making you drowsy foolishly think it's okay to have wine with dinner.  Spend some time lying on the bathroom floor trying not to throw up and waiting for the room to stop spinning. Go to bed early.
  9. Travel with a 9 year old who does not do transitions or changes to plans well. 
  10. Stay in the middle of nowhere that requires a minimum 40 minute drive to get anywhere.