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It’s been awfully quiet around here.

I decided that I’d posted enough mopey posts, and life is actually pretty great.  Life update: I moved to a new apartment and have a delightful part-time room-mate.  I made it through the first semester of nursing school and I’m excited to be going back in January for my maternity rotation!

Now I’m in San Francisco for the holidays and having a blast with family and friends.

Tonight’s dinner is my family’s traditional Christmas dish: Tourtiere.  But this time we’re eating it as the main part of Christmas-eve dinner (as per my traditional French Canadian heritage) as opposed to as part of actual Christmas dinner which is how we usually eat it.  For the last ten or so years, I’ve made Tourtiere for my family.  I usually make about a dozen pies.  We freeze them and give them away as presents to family and friends for their holiday dinners.  My family is all back in Victoria this Christmas, so they won’t have any of my tourtiere, and I just made the one pie today.  I can’t wait to eat it.

Over the years, the recipe has evolved.  I use ideas from Canadian Living and from friends who make tourtiere and from my Grandmere’s recipe.

Want to try it?  I think it’s delicious all year round (and I usually stash a few pies in our freezer for later dates), and Peter prefers it with ketchup, which I think is ridiculous.  Here’s today’s version of the recipe for you (alter as needed!)   Also, the pie below hasn’t been cooked yet.  I stuck it in the fridge so that I can cook it later. They keep well frozen if you wrap in tin foil and then in a plastic bag.  Add an extra 30 minutes to the cooking time if cooking from frozen.

Makes enough to serve 8 or so.

1 1/2 cups cubed, peeled potato

1 lb lean ground beef

1 lb lean ground pork

2 c sliced mushrooms

3/4 c finely chopped celery (about 3 stalks)

3/4 c chicken stock

1 1/2 onions, finely chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

3/4 tsp salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/2 teaspoon savory

1/2 teaspoon thyme

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 bay leaf

1/4 cup parsley

1 batch of pastry for a 2 crust 9″ pastry:

2/3 c shortening

1 tsp salt

2 cup flour

3 – 4 Tbsp water

In a saucepan, boil the potatoes in salted water until tender.  Drain and mash.  Set aside.

While the potatoes are cooking, in a large saucepan, saute the meats over medium-high heat, (don’t stir too much, you want it pretty lumpy.  My mom used to get mad at me for poking it too much) until no-longer pink.  Drain off the fat.

Add the mushrooms, celery, stock, onions, garlic, salt, pepper, savory, thyme cloves, cinnamon and bay leaf (NOT THE PARSLEY!) to the meat.

Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cover and simmer until there is almost no liquid left.

Pull out the bay leaf, stir in the potatoes and parsley and let it cool.

Make the pastry by cutting the shortening into the flour and salt.  Using a fork, gently toss in the water and mix gently until the pastry comes together in a ball when you squish it with your hands.  Roll out 2/3 of the dough between two sheets of wax paper.  Put in the 9″ pie plate, spoon in the meat mixture.  Roll out the rest of the pastry and top the pie with it.  Flute the edges.  Cut steam vents (I like to make it look festive by cutting the shape of a snowflake.  Brush with milk or an egg wash for an extra-golden crust.  Bake at 400 F for about 50 minutes until golden brown.

Serve (with Ketchup if you really want).  Enjoy!  Merry Christmas.

-a

Happy new year to all of you!
I’m hoping to do something a little more interesting here, but currently I’m on vacation! So much so, that I haven’t even been bringing my camera places.
Hope you all have a safe and happy night and we’ll see you in a week or so!

Went to bed last night with a plate of gifted cookies on the counter and woke up this morning to birds outside the window.

I think somewhere there’s poetry in being able to come back to a house that feels like home, have a four year old just want to cuddle in your lap and have the neighbourhood barista be so happy to see us.

It’s good to be home for a while.

I tried to replicate this Raven Costume this year.  I was willing to put the time into making it since I would be using it while volunteering at the hospital as well as going to a few parties.  I loved the feathers and the bustle.  And, it seemed easier than making a shark costume.

I hard a hard time photographing how it turned out because I was mostly by myself.  But here’s what I got:

The breast feathers were a bit fluffier than in Martha’s picture, but I’m generally happy with it.  I used some hair combs for the hair feathers since my hair is too short for putting up and just having feathers stuck into.

Here’s the whole thing.  The bustle/tail is my favourite part.  Instead of pinning it to my clothes, I created a loop out of the felt, and slid a belt through it.  This made it really easy to take on and off again – which is key because sitting down with a tail isn’t as easy as animals make it look.  This must be why we lost ours somewhere along the evolution line.

I had a beak too, but it kept trying to poke my eye out, so I ended up taping it to a chopstick – opera glass style.  This method worked perfectly as I didn’t have to wear something on my face all night (which I hate), and I still got to have a beak.  No good photos of it, though.

Prince Charming went as The Dude from the Big Labowski.  He wore the sweater I knit him (which is only currently good as a costume, rather than an actual sweater – I keep meaning to fix it, but so far haven’t had time), and carried an empty milk jug.  A pretty lazy costume, which is idea, for someone dressing up as The Dude, since he’s a lazy guy to begin with.

Hope you all had a fun Hallowe’en!

Next holiday: American Thanksgiving – What should I make?

 

I’ve been super busy with studying, volunteering, costume making, and baking lately.

Coming soon…. my pumpkin carving and costume making!

I made those brownies last night with another fairy tale princess and they were the best brownies ever.  Seriously.  Go make them.

For now, I’m off to the hospital to do some reverse trick-or-treating for some sick kiddos.  I’d  take a picture of my fabulous raven costume, but I can’t seem to get it all in the shot by myself.  I need my Prince Charming to help me with that…. so… COMING SOON!