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Monthly Archives: December 2011

My Favourite Moments of 2011

This moment on the Inca Trail in Peru:

Glorious scenery. This picture does not even come close to doing it justice. And especially after 3 days of grueling hiking and rain, this moment with Len’s arm around me as we soak in the sun and stillness was simply unforgettable.

 

Listening to Percy (our guide) play the flute amidst the Andes mountains:

This was a very special moment for me. The sound of this traditional Andean flute is very similar to the Chinese bamboo flute, which my dad played all the time. It’s a sound that I miss very much. My dad was also a great worshipper of nature, specifically of mountains and greenery. Oh how he would have loved to see the sights we saw along the Inca Trail! I thought of this a lot as my eyes feasted upon the amazing scenery. This little pocket of time, with Percy’s flute music echoing high up in the mountains, remains a shining moment among my memories from Peru. For those few minutes, I was enveloped in comfort, sadness, joy, and above all, a sense of profound peace.

 

Overcoming my fear of yeast doughs and learning to bake my own breads, pizza doughs, and cinnamon buns:

 

Developing my Dragon and Pheonix Balls recipe:

 

Spending a sun-saturated weekend exploring Admiralty Point, SFU, and Bowen Island:

 

Learning all about my mother-in-law’s childhood in Vernon:

The few days we spent with Len’s parents in the Okanagan this past summer was beautiful in so many ways. It was lovely to see them, and to see and learn all about the places of Mrs. Pelletier’s childhood roams was so special. And I had no idea Vernon was so pretty!

 

Staying up all night to read The Hunger Games Trilogy:

For a few days this fall, I lived and breathed the world of Panem. It had been a long time since I had gotten so engrossed in a story, and I was so obsessed I even carved a Mockingjay pumpkin at Halloween.

 

Coining the word, Muff-Nut.

I baked some doughnuts for Len and Min’s birthday party; while they looked the part, the texture was rather cakey, sort of in between a muffin and a doughnut. And thus, the Muff-Nut was born. It has since quickly spread in popularity amongst our friends, and the word has simply become integrated into our vocabulary. The Muff-Nuts themselves are actually very yummy, despite their rather unfortunate name, and I ended up making a Christmas version this holiday. And when my cousin, Tina, Len and I teamed up at a rowdy game of Big Two after Christmas dinner, we named ourselves Team Muff-Nut and overwhelmingly dominated the game. I think it was all in the name. :-)

 

Taking these pictures of a frosted spider web:

 

Spending the 2011 holiday season catching up with family and friends, and discovering anew all the simple and beautiful joys of life.

We stayed put this year and relaxed to the max. This past week, life slowed down to a deliciously mellow pace, and I feel rejuvenated and at peace. I have spent time doing all of my favourite things: catching up with friends and family, snuggling under blankets with Len watching movies, belting out Christmas carols at the top of my lungs, cooking, baking, and eating galore, and reveling in the wondrous nature that surrounds us.

I feel so very, very blessed.

Happy New Year, everyone!

 

Posted by on December 31, 2011 in Thoughts

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A Whack-load of Photos and a Recipe

Yes, this is gonna be a photo-laden post.

But that’s because it’s been a week of friends, fun, and food!

Our dear friend, Kathleen, was visiting from Toronto:

And what terrific timing, as she was here for our Gamesmas party last weekend! (Christmas + Games = Gamesmas!)

‘Twas a merry evening full of laughter, fun games and crafts, good conversations, food and drinks galore, and wonderful friends…

Kathleen and I also went on a couple of refreshing outdoorsy excursions…

New Brighton Park and Burnaby Heights Trail (at least that’s what I think the trail was called):

No matter how long I’ve lived here, the sight of those mountains never fail to take my breath away…

And the next day we wended our way through misty Lynn Valley Park:

Classic Kathleen look :-) :

Somebody decked out a park bench with some Christmas cheer:

It was, as always, a great visit with Kathleen!

I’m officially in the holiday mood! I’m fully immersing myself in all things Christmas, from humming Christmas tunes all day, to writing Christmas cards, to holiday baking…I’m lovin’ it all!

Speaking of which… We were left with a full, unopened carton of eggnog after Gamesmas, and as no one in our home is a huge fan of drinking it straight up, I decided to use some of it up in the form of muffins:

Eggnog Muffins

  • 1 C whole wheat flour
  • 1 C whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 TB baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 C brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1 C eggnog
  • 1/4 C canola oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 C chopped nuts (I used hazelnuts today)
  • 1/2 C dried cranberries

 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Sift together the first 6 ingredients in a large bowl.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, brown sugar, eggnog, oil, and vanilla until combined.

Pour wet mixture into the dry and mix together until just combined. Do not over-mix; a few floury lumps are fine.

Fold in nuts and cranberries.

Spray a muffin tin with oil. Divide batter amongst the 12 tins. Bake for 15 – 17 mins.

Lightly spiced, nutty, and with just enough sweetness, these muffins made our whole house smell like Christmas.

And because this post isn’t photo-laden enough, I’ve two more for you…while I was outside doing my little photoshoot for my muffins, I discovered this beautiful frosted spider web:

Happy Friday everyone!

 

Posted by on December 9, 2011 in Hanging Out, Kitchen Adventures

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