Gratitude Sunday – September 7, 2014

Was another very productive week, I must say! Salsas, apple jellies, painting the dining room… no rest for the wicked, they say!  Feeling satisfied, I say!

It’s frankly amazing how we can load so much into one week yet feel there is so much more we could have done.  Seriously, what is up with that?  How have we managed to guilt ourselves into believing there is no time for “down time”?

Pffft… I say!  I’m off to read my book!

Crab Apples

Crab Apples

Gratitude List

  1. I am so happy we have painted our dining room RED!  (Pictures will follow when we’ve finished putting up our prints and stuff….)

  2. I appreciate having a friend with an orchard who lets me know what’s ready for picking so I can fill bags to my heart’s content… more jellies coming!  Pears! Crab Apples, Apples! Oh my!

  3. Buying the ingredients necessary to make salsas and jams and jellies and actually doing them within a great timeframe.  It was go-go-go but so satisfying!

  4. Having followers of my blog who leave me interesting and thought-provoking comments makes me feel like I have a voice.  I love it!

  5. Choosing a paint colour from a swatch, applying it and saying YES!  Exactly what we wanted!  (This feels like a cheat and goes with no. 1…)

  6. Spending time with each of my sons on a one-to-one basis brings me much joy and allows us to get just that much closer (not easy when they are 14 and 16!)

Taking a Break

Once I finally got the house to myself, I set to work: dishes (how do they pile up so?), grape jelly, dishes, apple jelly, dishes, Maple-Apple Muffins (recipe below – finally!) and more apples cooked down to make another batch of jelly (methinks the next one will have mint) – remember, I have oodles of apples to use – I decided to take the pooch out for a walk. I have promised him we will get in a 45-60 minute walk every day.

What a glorious day for it! I mean, seriously, it’s October 10th and I was dressed in shorts, a tank-top and flip-flops for goodness’ sake! It hit 25 degrees Celsius! Whoop! Whoop! I know this is probably not a good thing with Global Warming and all but, living in an area where the winters can be pretty ferocious, we have learnt to enjoy the heat whilst we can!

That said, Zeke and I made our way to “Teletubbie Park”, as we have so named it. (When we moved to this area, the boys were in grades 2 and 4 so we walked with them before the school year to show them how to get to their new school and not get lost. We discovered the lovely hills right next to the school and noticed how much it looked like the ones on that most annoying of children’s shows – which OF COURSE our boys loved when they were small).
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OK.. this is not the best shot to really sense the hills but anyway… 😉

Zeke

Zeke

Zeke really enjoys when we come here because I let him run off leash so he can sniff away at all the delicious scents unhindered. The day was simply to be enjoyed and I regretted not having gone out sooner. Silly me!

We then continued our walk through the neighbourhood, enjoying the colours and the last vestiges of various flower gardens. These too have a lovely look to them as they gently, in the case of certain hydrangeas; or, violently, in the case of the fire bush, change colours.

Fall Foliage

Fall Foliage

On our way back home, we passed a bunch of rose bushes laden with rosehips… Would that I could be certain the City does not spray them with pesticide (though I seriously doubt they do) and that they were not right next to a boulevard in daily contact with exhaust fumes… I would so love to transform them into jelly!

Rosehips

Rosehips

Now, as promised, here is the recipe for the apple muffins. I have this wonderful go-to book that I return to again and again. It is Have Your Cake and Eat It, Too, by Susan G. Purdy. As the name suggests, it contains a bunch of low-fat but fabulous tasting recipes. So, no, I cannot take credit for this recipe!

Vermont Maple-Apple Muffins

Maple Apple Muffins

Maple Apple Muffins

Ingredients
3 Tbsp canola oil
1 large egg plus 1 large egg white
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup apple cider or apple juice or skim milk
1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1/2 tsp maple or vanilla extract
1 medium tart apple, peeled, cored and finely diced (about 1 cup)
1/2 cup seedless raisins
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp unsifted all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsifted whole wheat pastry flour (I used regular whole wheat flour, sifted it and added the good stuff to the batter!)
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon

Topping
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
2 Tbsp chopped walnuts
1/2 tsp cinnamon

1. Position rack in the centre of the oven and preheat it to 355oF. Coat a 12-muffin tin with cooking spray.
2. In a large bowl, combine first 9 ingredients. Beat well with a wooden spoon, then stir in the oats.
3. Set a strainer over the bowl, add dry ingredients. Using the back of a spoon, stir and sift the dry ingredients onto the egg mixture. Stir well to blend.
4. Divide the batter among the muffin cups. Combine the topping ingredients in a bowl and sprinkle over the muffins. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until tops of muffins are well risen and crisp and a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in pan on a rack for a few minutes, then use a fork to lift out of the muffins and cool completely on the rack. Serve warm.

217 calories, 4 g protein, 5 g fat, 0.5 g satfat, 40g carbohydrate, 199 mg sodium,18 mg cholesterol

Oh! And a little funny to end this one. In this particular recipe, it is specified 1 medium apple, “about 1 cup” of apples… great!. What about when it is stated to add one apple, which one would you choose?
apples

‘Tis the Time of Abundance

I so love this time of year! And this year is especially good. No, not garden-wise. My garden totally sucked this year, quite frankly. Each heirloom tomato plant gave me only one or two tomatoes. All my bell peppers got eaten by slugs and bugs as did my lettuce and basil.

The only things that did do well were the kale, the rainbow chard and some of my son’s hot peppers. A disappointing yield indeed.

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That said, the Farmer’s Market had LOTS of stuff!

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With this delightful bounty I have made jars and jars of salsa – surely this time hubby will not complain of not having enough to last the year! He will, of course, take exception to my giving ANY jars away to “undeserving people”. You must understand, dear reader, that no one is deserving, in his eyes. Usually a most generous fellow, he becomes quite miserly when it comes to his salsa!
This week-end I returned to the market for another 44 lbs of tomatoes… we won’t be needing jars of tomato sauce either!

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Photo 9-30-2013, 9 29 27 AM

As if I didn’t have enough to do… I went to my friend’s orchard and got bags of apples and pears which are in the process of being transformed into jellies, butters, jams…