Sunday, September 21, 2008

Cleaning Up, Getting Carried Away, Italian Stuffed Peppers and Big Pet Heads.....

It was time to clean out the front garden which was full of Virginia Creeper vine roots and taking over everything. A few months ago I ripped the vine down. I love vines on houses but this one was a big mistake!

The fellow was climbing up the wall. Not sure who he is, but he`s clickable to have a closer look....

The top of the "cat jump up and down" thingy broke so we stuck this press board on top, but it`s not sturdy enough. Need to find something else. I made a stone path for the pusses to get to it. The garden is now ready for the cold weather...which, by the way, I`d prefer not to have arrive. I`ll figure out in Spring what to add.

Then I hand sawed the high bush cranberries on either side of the door. They were becoming a nuisance and getting way out of hand. What a job that was. When I was finished I felt like I`d spent a good 5 hours at the gym. I would so love to have windows with window panes in them and a really nice cottagey door. Some climbing ivy to take away from the ugly siding....

I decided to try a recipe that looked delicious, the other night called Stuffed Peppers, Italian Style. I had bought some couscous awhile back and wanted to try it ....

Picked what herbs remained healthy from the pots outside, Italian Oregano and basil...

Boiled the halved peppers in water for a few minutes....

Fried up the mix....

Then added the couscous....

Filled the peppers, topped with cheese and popped them into the oven....

Voila! These were really good and I`ve added the recipe at the end for anyone who wants to try them.

Stuffed Peppers, Italian Style

6oz) ground beef (180 gr mince)
1 medium onion
3 cloves garlic ( next time I`ll use a bit more )
1 tbs olive oil
dash of dried hot chili peppers
1 tsp chili powder
2 tsp dried oregano ( I used fresh )
1 tsp dried basil
1/3 cup couscous
1 can whole, peeled tomatoes, 15 oz (450 gr tin)
1/3 - 1/2 cup red wine
2 nicely shaped bell peppers I like to use 3 smallish ones
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella ( next time I would choose some sharp cheese )

Put a large pot of water on high heat and bring to a boil. Cut peppers in half the long way (try to find the best flat sides before cutting so that they will lay nicely) and remove stem end and seeds. When water is boiling drop peppers in and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove (use tongs) and put into a baking dish that will just hold them (if possible).
Finely chop onion and garlic. In non-stick skillet heat oil over medium-high heat. Add paprika, fennel and chili powder and sauté 1 minute. Add garlic and onion and sauté until transparent, about 5 minutes. Add beef and sauté until cooked through breaking it up as it cooks. Drain tomatoes, reserving juice. Chop and add to pan. Add 2 tbs reserved tomato sauce, herbs, couscous and 1/3 cup red wine to skillet. Stir well. Turn heat to low, cover and simmer until couscous is done, about 5 minutes stirring frequently and adding more wine if necessary. When ready spoon mixture into the pepper halves. Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes at 400F (200C). Remove foil, spoon reserved tomato sauce over top and sprinkle with cheese. Bake, uncovered for another 5 minutes. Remove from oven and serve. I saved one of mine for the next day and it still tasted yummy.

Teddy will be 22 in March....

And Elvis is still as adorable as ever....

Happy weekend!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

My Embarrassing Garden

It`s been a beautiful weekend so far and tomorrow supposedly is sunny again.
Most of the mosquitoes are off tormenting someone else today I guess. So it was finally time to deal with my drowned and dead veg garden. As you can see, I didn`t even bother to continue digging in the bricks. Just as well because I`ve had to pull them all out while weeding and have stacked them along the sides for now. But the sunflowers though drooping over, are thriving. You can see here the reason why I haven`t taken any garden pictures this year. A hopeless mess.....

This one stands all by itself over by the fence, gazing off over it, wishing it lived it a much nicer garden........

The bees are still loving the sunflowers. If you click on the pic you can see how he`s coated in pollen.....

The other day I rescued two of the four good pepper plants that seem to be still growing. I`m bringing them in each night because sometimes the weather man warns of possible frost. I don`t know if they`ll grow, but it`s worth a try.......

I tied the sunflowers on poles, but they`re now facing upwards! Still some weeds left to get at tomorrow, but the worst is done. The height of those bricks is how much soil we`ll need to bring in next spring, just in case we have rain every darn day again. Not sure if hubby will find time to attach those bricks or not, but that was my original idea. To the far right, the herbs have survived because it didn`t hold the water there as bad. That tree in the garden may come down too. It`s shading it too much and the leaves are making a mess. Never was a pretty tree. Some marigolds and two peppers fill my lovely garden hehe.

It seems the thrill of blogging left me long ago and I`m afraid anything slightly interesting is in my old old posts. I don`t want to quit all together, I`m hanging in there barely, but it does seem to me that I`m getting really boring. I`m definately boring myself....zzzzzzzzz
Have a lovely weekend wherever you may be.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

A Nice Dinner and "Catnip Napping"

It`s been a rainy weekend here with the temperatures unusually warm.
We decided to get out for a nice bite to eat in a near by city to a Bistro called Janet Lynns.

We arrived around 6:30 on Saturday, having made a reservation ahead of time.
We were luckily able to find one lone parking spot on the street directly in front. Fortunate, seeing as it was pouring rain.

Upon entering we glimpsed several different wine displays under the warm dim lighting and were greeted by a friendly gentleman who led us to our table.

The atmosphere here is quite lovely although we had to chuckle about the flat bread display of on our table. Picture a very large...16 inches perhaps...thin round flat unsalted soda cracker, being held in place by a couple of small pieces of bread on either side.

I proceeded to give this odd prop a chance. I broke off a piece and dipped it into the small companion dish, realizing this was not a dip but rather a bland whipped butter. Liking at least a bit of salt, I found the whole thing quite tasteless. But never mind, things were looking up as we glanced at the wine list.
We had only 6 choices if we wanted a glass rather than a bottle. I chose the Shiraz Cabernet at 7.50 and my husband the Pinot Noir at 9.00

We decided on a Caesar Salad to start. I like to rate this salad in different places. So far the best has been Lily Ruth`s.
This one came looking fine and the waiter offered cracked pepper over top. No cheese.
It had a nice home-made tasting crouton...or should I say two croutons . A bit skimpy. I would have liked four but dear husband wanted his two.
The first bites were good because the pepper had a nice zip to it. But then I found the whole thing quite weak tasting. Watery, yet not enough that one lost the taste all together. I`d give the salad a 5 out of 10.
All the pics today are from my Blackberry so excuse any fogginess........
For our entree, hubs decided on the Rack of Lamb $30

and I ordered the Duck Two Ways for $28.

We didn`t have to wait an enormously long time, which was good...I was starving.

The presentation of the food was tops and the quality and taste fab. There really wasn`t anything either of us could say other than delicious. I have to mention also that our waitress was very very good.

Even though I was stuffed I needed to have a look at the desert menu.
Tempted, I chose the Pecan Tart with Caramel Ice cream, whilst hubby had a Chocolate Sin Cake with Vanilla Bean Ice-cream , drizzled with Creme Anglais. Both nicely presented again and yummy. The ice cream is home made and mine was par to Haagan Daaz I felt. So although I had well over-done myself and felt to the point of bursting, it was a lovely night and an enjoyable experience all in all.

It was excellent service and a lovely atmosphere although I wish I would have thought to discreetly snap a photo of that flat bread!! I popped this review over at hubby's website. RateBistros

Teds shnoozin' in the catnip.....

Than Angus has a turn.....

Elvis and my sister`s pup Sandy.....

Hope everyone is having a great weekend. It`s supposed to rain again today.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

T`was a Fun Long Labour Day Weekend

This past weekend was out Labour Day weekend here in Canada. Three days off work!
We went to the Paris fair...unfortunately not in France. Lovely sunny day for it.
Then we went to the movies at night and saw The Mummy. Not a bad movie. We really wanted to see Mirrors but it wasn`t playing until quite a bit later in the night.
The bees really seem to like the sunflowers.
I haven`t taken many garden pics because most of my flowers have passed their date or didn`t bloom at all. And the garden has an odd tomato, but mostly drowned veggies accept for the herbs. Lots of weeds that I`ve given up on this year due to the heavy amount of mosquitoes this year. So it`s all far too sad and embarrassing to take pictures of. The roses came back but the back garden ones are still in bud. Nor sure if they will bloom. Right now we`re experiencing sun and heat. Something that was lacking largely most of the summer.

Izzy in one of her favorite napping spots....

Teds wanted out....

Sunday we went to the Psychic fair. Neither of us wanted a reading but we decided to get an Aura picture.
Notice the orbs. Interesting. And we`d only just watched "Shutter" Creepy movie, but good! Not really sure if technology can truly pick up auras compared to a trained eye....tricks or true? But it was fun....

And finally, here`s a "just taken" pic of my sweety-pie, Elvis. Couldn`t leave him out!

Hope everyone has a wonderful week!
Oh...almost forgot. I found a really interesting blog about Madonna if anyone is interested in her.